The 10 Best Corded & Cordless Reciprocating Saws for the Money

With so many varieties on the market, and so many variables to consider, it has been a tough job to narrow down the best reciprocating saw, but someone had to do it. Reciprocating saws, also called recip saws, recipro saws, or even saws-all, is a powerful and versatile handheld saw that can cut through wood, metal, masonry, fiberglass, and more. Reciprocating means that the cutting action is achieved through the alternating or push and pull motion, of the blade.

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  • Quick and easy blade chasing
  • Anti-slip comfort grip
  • 1 1/8-inch stroke length
premium choice rating
  • Quick and easy blade chasing
  • Anti-slip comfort grip
  • 1 1/8-inch stroke length
great value rating
  • Tool-free blade change
  • Light weight
  • 7/8-inch stroke length

There are many varieties of blades for these saws, each designed for a specific task. The most common blades are made from carbon steel, but there are also high-speed steel, bi-metal steel, carbide-tipped, carbide grit, and diamond blades. When in doubt, it’s best to just use the combination blades for general DIY use and the specialty blades for larger jobs. The landscape of reciprocating saws is changing with better technology and higher performance.

PictureReciprocating SawsPower SourceStroke LengthWeight
DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-VoltDEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B CordlessCordless1-1/8 inch 5.8 lbs
DEWALT DCS387P1 20-voltDEWALT DCS387P1 20v KitCordless 1-1/8 inch9.3 lbs
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20VBLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20VCordless0.875 Inch3.9 lbs
SKIL 9216-01 9 AmpSKIL 9216-01 9 AmpCorded 1.125 inch7.2 lbs
DEWALT DWE304 10-AmpDEWALT DWE304 10-AmpCorded 1-1/8 inch7 lbs
Bosch RS7 + RAP10PK 1-1/8-InchBosch RS7 + RAP10PK 11-AmpCorded 1.125 inch11.09 lbs
PORTER CABLE PCC670B 20VPORTER CABLE PCC670B 20vCordless1 inch4.6 lbs
Milwaukee 6519-31 12 AmpMilwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp SawzallCorded 1-1/8-inch12 lbs
Makita JR3050T 11 AmpMakita JR3050T 11 AmpCorded 1-1/8-inch7.1 lbs
Hitachi CR13VBY 12-AmpHitachi CR13VBY 12-AmpCorded 1-1/4-inch9.7 lbs

View the Best Reciprocating Saw on the Market, Below.

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1. DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B Cordless

DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt

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This cordless, 18-volt reciprocating saw is ready to cut through anything that gets into its path. For jobs that require building, remodeling, or tearing down, this saw works like a ninja with a high-performance, variable-speed motor that drives up to 3000 strokes per minute, and holds its own with an aggressive stroke length of 1-1/8-inch. The four-position blade clamp allows for greater versatility in limited clearance, making it possible to flush-cut from nearly any angle.

The lever-action clamp makes it quick and easy to change out the blade, and the sure-grip, anti-slip rubber handles increase handling control and reduce fatigue. Always a trusted name in power equipment, DeWalt backs this product with a three-year limited warranty that covers any faulty material or workmanship defects, plus a one-year free service contract that covers replacement of all worn parts due to normal use.

Why We Like It

  • Quick and easy blade chasing
  • Anti-slip comfort grip
  • 1 1/8-inch stroke length
  • Up to 3000 rpm

Our Verdict

This lightweight, portable reciprocating saw handles well for any size job, and it is versatile and convenient enough to use with metal, wood, plumbing, equipment repair, in tight crawlspaces, roofing, and more. Constructed well, this saw makes a durable and powerful substitution for other reciprocating saws, with many different types of blades that can be used.

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2. DEWALT DCS387P1 20v Kit

DEWALT DCS387P1 20-volt

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Only 14.5-inches in total length, this seven-pound saw is compact and lightweight which makes it easy for cutting into those hard-to-reach areas. In addition, the four-position blade clamp gives better versatility and allows for flush-cutting in difficult angles with tool-free blade changes. Surprisingly powerful for its size, this saw has a variable speed trigger that drives up to 2900 strokes per minute, and has an impressive stroke length of 1-1/8-inch for delivering faster cutting speed. There is a pivoting shoe that also provides more control and versatility.

Why We Like It

  • Quick and easy blade chasing
  • Anti-slip comfort grip
  • 1 1/8-inch stroke length
  • LED light

Our Verdict

With an impressive 4.7 out of five star rating, this reciprocating saw is a huge hit with consumers for its overall versatility, durability, and performance. We like the fact that it is so lightweight and compact, it is very easy to maneuver and transport to different areas. The LED light is a convenient feature to have, especially in darker, tighter areas where there really isn’t sufficient lighting to see the job - this provides a more confident and safer cutting experience.

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3. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V

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Lightweight and powerful, this cordless Black & Decker reciprocating saw delivers a tool-free blade changing system for more convenience, with a variable speed trigger and a pivoting shoe for more control that gets the job done faster and more efficiently, made to deliver up to 30-percent more output. The 7/8-inch blade is made to deliver more cutting precision and control, and less kickback than longer blades. Black & Decker goes the extra mile by providing dampening technology for reduced vibration. Includes one blade, and battery is sold separately.

Why We Like It

  • Tool-free blade change
  • Light weight
  • 7/8-inch stroke length
  • Cordless

Our Verdict

This is a cordless reciprocating saw that is still very powerful and built to last, that will deliver up to 3,000 strokes per minute. Having the new dampening technology ensures a nice, smooth cutting experience with less vibration. The light weight handling makes this saw easy for just about anyone to handle.

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4. SKIL 9216-01 9 Amp

SKIL 9216-01 9 Amp

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With a reliable, durable nine-amp motor that powers through just about any type of material without a glitch, this reciprocating saw is making cutting an enjoyable experience once again and guarantees a great performance. Depending on the toughness of the project, users can manipulate and manage the speed rate of the saw, providing a more controlled, safer cutting experience. Speaking of safety, this saw includes a tool-less blade change for hassle-free changing, and a counter balance and pivotal foot for adding extra sturdiness during work.

As for comfort, there is a soft-grip handle which makes it easy to handle while reducing fatigue. The manual provided with this reciprocating saw is easy to understand which type of blade works best with which project — making this saw ideal for novices and experts alike.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Powerful
  • Durable casing

Our Verdict

The overall performance of these compact reciprocating saws is what impressed us. The high-powered motor doesn’t discriminate, for our testing this saw cut through concrete as well as it cut through wood. Not only powerful, but easy to handle, this saw makes an ideal addition to anyone’s workshop.

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5. DEWALT DWE304 10-Amp

DEWALT DWE304 10-Amp

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This powerful saw packs a 10 amp motor that is designed for performance in heavy-duty applications. There is a four-position blade clamp allowing for better versatility in limited clearance and makes it possible to flush-cut from nearly any angle. There is also a fixed shoe for adding extra sturdiness during work, along with a keyless lever-action blade clamp for easy blade changing. With up to 2800 strokes per minute, it also has a variable speed trigger for better user control depending on what it is being used on.

Typical materials for these reciprocating saws are wood, light to heavy gauge metals, drawl, plaster, plastic, rubber, fiberglass, and composite material. This DeWalt tool comes backed by a three-year limited warranty.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight
  • Variable speed control
  • Powerful
  • Convenient blade changing

Our Verdict

DeWalt has make cutting fun again with all of the powerful and versatile features of this saw. Changing blades is easy breezy, just lift a small lever and this instantly disengages the blade. The quality is excellent and it doesn’t seem to notice the difference between light wood and steel - it cuts through both materials just like butter.

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6. Bosch RS7 + RAP10PK 11-Amp

Bosch RS7 + RAP10PK 1-1/8-Inch

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As if the 11-amp motor doesn’t impress you enough about this saw, combine that with the compact and lightweight design and a best-in-class power to weight ratio, and that will surely get your attention. Even the most cantankerous reciprocating saw masters will enjoy all the power, precision and durability this saw produces in the most challenging of projects.

Included with this reciprocating saw is a 10-piece blade set, made of precision-ground teeth and thick blades designed for general purpose cutting and providing endurable performance in wood, wood with nails, and metals. There is tool-less blade change for quick, easy removal and a soft, ergonomic handle for comfort and reduced fatigue.

Why We Like It

  • Best power-to-weight ratio
  • Versatile
  • Variable speed trigger
  • 10-blade set included

Our Verdict

Bosch has thought of it all when it comes to providing the most powerful, durable, and comfortable sawing experience. We love how this reciprocating saw’s dual LED lighting system illuminates the cutting zone for an overall safer experience. The blades work great, are easy to change out, and overall this reciprocating saw performed impressively, and with it being a corded model there were no more worries on how long the battery was going to last.

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7. PORTER CABLE PCC670B 20v

PORTER CABLE PCC670B 20V

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Porter-Cable is a trusted brand and is known for their high-performance power saws. This reciprocating saw stands up to their reputation well with its overall versatility. Lightweight and compact, this reciprocating saw is ideal for getting the more challenging work done in confined areas. With a high-performance motor and one-inch stroke length, this is designed for general contractors, do-it-yourselfers, or remodelers alike, making it easy for anyone of any experience level to use. There’s an easy, tool-less blade system and pivoting shoe to hold the blade securely and precise, and a variable speed trigger for more control.

Why We Like It

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Cordless, fast-charging
  • Variable speed

Our Verdict

This compact, cordless saw makes the whole cutting experience so much easier, and it fits into just about any tight spot, sawing with a lot of power and precision. The ergonomic handle makes it nice and comfortable to grip, and at just under four pounds, this makes a convenient saw for just about anyone to use effectively.

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8. Milwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp Sawzall

Milwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp

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Delivering best in class cut speed, durability and power with a 0-3000 strokes per minute and a 1-1/8-inch stroke length, and a 12 amp motor. There’s a gear-protecting clutch that extends the gear and motor life with its high-impact absorption, and the QUICK-LOK brake clamp is made to provide fast tool-less blade changes. The redesigned front grip of this reciprocating saw gives ergonomics and comfort that is best in class.

Why We Like It

  • High-performance motor
  • Reduced vibration
  • Fast, tool-less changing
  • Comfortable grip

Our Verdict

packed with plenty of power, comfortable ergonomics, and one of the best brands, Milwaukee is a name you can trust in the line of reciprocating saws. As the original Sawzall brand name, this reciprocating saw is used by professionals and DIY’ers all over for its reliability, durability, and power.

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9. Makita JR3050T 11 Amp

Makita JR3050T 11 Amp

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This saw combines a powerful 11-amp motor with a 7.3-pound weight, giving these saws better performance and handling. The variable speed goes up to 2800 SPM and it has a 1 1/8-inch blade stroke for effective, efficient cutting, good on metal, wood, drywall, plastics, remodeling, and demolition work. There is also an internal dust blower system that conveniently clears away debris as you cut for improved visibility and more precise cuts, and the tool-less blade change with the heavy-duty shoe provides fast changing convenience.

These saws are securely constructed to keep debris out and add a longer saw life with all ball and needle bearings and a protective rubber boot that seals the motor and bearings from outside elements.

Why We Like It

  • Powerful
  • Lightweight
  • Well-designed
  • Versatile

Our Verdict

For just about any application, these saws do the job well. Makita goes the extra mile by not only giving this an 11-amp motor, but providing many convenient, safe features and extending the longevity with its overall design. Easy to handle, this reciprocating saw does a professional-level job at an ordinary-level cost, and for its durability, it cannot be beat.

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10. Hitachi CR13VBY 12-Amp

Hitachi CR13VBY 12-Amp

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As a leader in power tool technology, Hitachi impresses us once again with its groundbreaking User Vibration Protection. This UPV technology uses a counterweight mechanism that absorbs shocks and impact, and reduces vibrations by over 65 percent, enhancing performance and providing better, more refined cuts.

Why We Like It

  • Powerful
  • Lightweight
  • Well-designed
  • Versatile

Our Verdict

For just about any application, this saw does the job well. Makita goes the extra mile by not only giving this an 11-amp motor, but providing many convenient, safe features and extending the longevity with its overall design. Easy to handle, this reciprocating saw does a professional-level job at an ordinary-level cost, and for its durability, it cannot be beat.

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Buyers Guide Questions

What Is A Reciprocating Saw Used For?

When used properly, reciprocating saws can be a lot of fun to handle, and might just turn you into a demolition junkie. For instance, a tear-down project that would normally take a lot of hours of struggle and sweat to rip down and break apart with a crowbar will become so much easier with a reciprocating saw that just cuts through all the materials instead in a quarter of the time. Windows, walls, plumbing, doors, etc. – just cut away and toss. You will wonder where this magical little tool has been all of your life.

reciprocating-saw-image

Also referred to as a “gateway tool”, the reciprocating saw is what you will own when you finally graduate to a Serious DIY’er and have been around the hard knocks block a few times. This is the tool that sets you apart from the novice wannabes. A reciprocating saw is not for fine crafting. It is used for breaking down and tackling the bigger projects.

It is designed for getting into those tight areas with an exposed blade and different positioning for precision angle cutting. There are several types of blades that are used with a reciprocating saw, depending on the project and material being cut. For instance, a fine-tooth blade that resembles a hacksaw is used for cutting through metal pipe and nails; a coarse blade is for cutting wood; a super-coarse blade for plaster; and a “toothless” blade for cutting stone – these are specially coated with a tungsten carbide abrasive grit.

However, you don’t have to be uber-picky when choosing the best blade, either. You can certainly use a nail-cutting blade to slash through roof shingles and plywood, for example. The more you are familiar with what your saw can do, the more confident you will be when choosing a blade for a specific job. Most of the types of blades are in standard six-inch lengths, but smaller ones like the jig-saw types are available.

There are also 12-inch blades that are useful for getting into deep crevices or cutting through thick timber. Blades, although they are tough, are not indestructible. They are disposable and should be replaced when you notice that the work is slowing due to a dull blade. There are bimetal blades that are bonded with steel teeth that will remain flexible longer and outperform the standard carbon steel blades with faster cutting, but they cost more.

To extend the life of your blades, they can be hammered flat and reused if bent. You can also try a little trick by cutting off the tip at an angle with some tin snips – presenting a sharper blade (be sure to wear safety goggles for this).

There are also Several Techniques you can apply that will Further Extend the life of your Blades:

  • Be sure to apply the right pressure to your saw – and don’t worry, this is learned through experience. This is an intricate balance between knowing when to bear down and when to go light.
  • Make sure your reciprocating saw’s shoe is tight on the material’s surface – this reduces vibration and will increase the cutting speed.
  • If you apply a rocking up and down motion with your saw, this will definitely increase the cutting speed.
  • If you need to get close to cut nails that are beneath lapped siding, flip over the blade so the teeth are up in the clamp assembly, then cut away, making sure you don’t cut into the siding.
  • Although reciprocating saws are made to be relatively safe during use, these are still dangerous saws, and you still need to follow common safety rules (click to view the study on this):
  • Stay aware of where electrical wiring, heating vents, and plumbing pipes are in your area before cutting.
  • When changing out blades, always unplug the saw first.
  • Stay aware of “kickback” – when the blade’s tip comes into contact with the material and bucks violently – which could throw you off balance. Be especially aware of this when perched on a telescoping ladder. This could also happen when cutting through pipes or wood.
  • Blades will generate heat when cutting. Avoid touching the blade right after a saw – let it cool before changing the blade.

Are Reciprocating Saw Blades Universal?

The short answer is yes. Reciprocating saw blades will fit into any standard reciprocating saw on the market. The length of these saw blades ranges from three to 12 inches, dictating how deep the cut will be, while width and thickness determine how stable the blade is. Each saw blade for a reciprocating saw is designed for a specific task, and as such, vary in dimension, material, number of teeth, bevel, thickness, and angle. Let’s break this down:

  •  Carbon steel blades are the most common and inexpensive blade, suited for cutting softwoods but will dull quickly with hardwoods and other hard materials.
  • High-speed steel (HSS) blades are more expensive than carbon steel, but also much harder, allowing them to cut through hardwoods without dulling as quick. Makes a great choice as an all-purpose, long lasting blade, lasting five times longer than carbon steel.
  • Bi-metal blades are harder yet and last on average up to ten times longer than a carbon steel blade.
  • Carbide-tipped blades are the most common type of bi-metal saw blades and work best for particularly tough cuts.
  • Carbide-grit blades are more abrasive and made of harder materials like brick, marble, ceramic, and fiberglass. As the most common type of abrasive reciprocating blade, the coatings range from medium to heavy-duty.
  • Diamond blades have real diamonds embedded in the tips and are used to cut through glass, ceramic, and concrete. There are six types of blades that are made to do specific tasks:
  • A ripping blade has a larger gullet (the area between teeth) and few teeth which remove wood quickly and efficiently, producing a rough cut
  • A crosscutting blade has many teeth and a small gullet that produces a very smooth and concise cut.
  • A combination blade is more of a general-purpose blade that is in between ripping and crosscutting, for a wider range of tasks.
  • Plywood blades have more teeth than crosscutting, which helps to suppress the chipping and splintering common to plywood, creating a smoother, cleaner cut.
  • Thin kerf blades are for easier cutting without much waste. The kerf is the size of the slot the blade cuts in the material.
  • An abrasive blade is coated with a coarse material, allowing them to cut through tile, masonry, and steel. Each type of blade has distinct features that allow it to do its best with specific tasks:
  • A variable pitch blade has a different TPI (teeth per inch) at various points. for example, it could have a pitch rating of 10/14, which means that it varies from 10 to 14 TPI. This variable pitch reduces vibration and provides a faster cut, allowing for use on a wider variety of materials.
  • A tapered blade is for plunge cuts where the reciprocating saw starts cutting directly on the surface rather than on the edge of a material – so it is tapered to allow it plunge right in.
  • Specialty blades are designed for specific materials and are convenient for non-professionals to simply choose the best blade without a lot of knowledge.
  • Bi-directional blades have teeth that will cut in both directions, allowing the blade to cut in both the push and pull motions, resulting in faster cuts. This isn’t suitable for all jobs but works best for materials such as plaster, for instance.

Can I Use A Reciprocating Saw To Cut Through Tree Limbs?

 A reciprocating saw is comparable to a jigsaw (click to read and view for our full guide), designed not for finishing work but for demolition or quick cutting jobs that do not have to be pretty, but just have to be done fast and right. Besides being a demolition saw, it is also great as a tight-restricted area saw, a pipe cutter, a drywall saw, and a conduit cutter. There are many saws that can be used for pruning trees, but if you are tasked with the job of cutting several limbs or thicker branches, you will want a tool that is equipped specifically for this job – like a reciprocating saw.

The general advantages of using a reciprocating saw as opposed to other types of saws revolve around their overall flexibility. They are much more lightweight and safer to use than a circular saw for work that requires being perched on a ladder, they can work in tight, confined areas or behind fixed materials, where other reciprocating saws cannot fit, They do an excellent job at cutting holes or slots in the middle of drywall or sheets, and they will make flush cuts around adjacent materials like a breeze.

  • Weight ( lbs )

So, back to cutting through tree limbs — The answer to this question is yes. The reciprocating saw makes one of the best saws for pruning tree limbs or cutting small trees. You can actually use a standard reciprocating saw blade to cut tree branches, but a reciprocating saw will only work as good as the blade that is intended for a specific project – like a pruning blade. Most people do not realize that there are pruning blades specifically for these reciprocating saws!

There are many different reciprocating saws that will perform well for your needs, such as the DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B Cordless reciprocating saw or the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V reciprocating saw. A good example of the correct blade to use would be a 12 inch 4/5 TPI pruning blade, made to provide a cleaner, faster cut through wood, with a thin kerf for more flexibility.

DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt

All you have to do is put on your safety glasses, insert the pruning blade into your reciprocating saw (or saws-all), turn it on, and saw it off. That’s it! The job is done in mere seconds, and this cuts your tree limbs like they were butter.

Can A Reciprocating Saw Cut Trees?

When deciding what type of reciprocating saw to use for cutting down trees, there are a lot of variables to consider: One, what kind of tree (or trees) you want to fell; and Two: how experienced you are with reciprocating saws. Using a chainsaw is probably the best solution to felling large trees, especially hardwoods because that is what they are made to do. Make sure you have the right chainsaw chain here.

However you really should not attempt to operate a chainsaw to a huge tree unless you are pretty darn experienced— they are about the most dangerous power tool there is, and can maim or even kill you in seconds… So if you don’t know what you are doing, you are much better off finding someone who does.

That said, maybe they aren’t huge trees, but rather soft pines or smaller trees you want to clear. Now your job just became a lot safer and easier to handle. A reciprocating saw, used with the right blade for the task, can provide a safer and successful way to fell smaller trees with a little patience and know-how.

Much lighter and smaller than a chainsaw, using a reciprocating saw also makes it easier to saw off those higher branches. Also, make sure you use a blade that is made to cut through wood. A good example would be a 12 inch 4/5 TPI pruning blade, made to provide a cleaner, faster cut through wood, with a thin kerf for the best flexibility.

How To Use A Reciprocating Saw?

Known as the “swiss army knife” of saws, the reciprocating saw is designed to do a wide variety of cutting tasks around the home and in the construction site. If you currently don’t know how to operate a reciprocating saw, you should, because when you do, it will probably be all you ever need (view the study and instructions on use here). A reciprocating saw, or saws-all as many call it, wears many hats: It is a demolition saw, a fine-finishing saw, a tight-restricted area saw, a pipe cutter, a drywall saw, and a conduit cutter. It is even a great tree pruner and a small tree cutter. Click here to view the full study.

The fact is, once you have learned the secrets of what this reciprocating saw will do, you will want to have one. Now. Then it just becomes a matter of deciding which brand of reciprocating saw, then on to which blades you need to do your tasks at hand. From there, it includes choosing from a variety of sizes, models, whether you want corded or cordless, stroke, and tool weight. And then there are other considerations to weigh in, like, does the blade reverse to cut up or down?

Does the handle stick out? How comfortable is the grip? How big is the saw, or how lightweight is it? Modern technology from reciprocating saw manufacturers has fine tuned this tool over time, with huge advancements, especially in the last decade. Faster cuts, more power, variable speed, more compact size, lighter weight, better casing, even reciprocating saws that can be handled with one hand – all at a cost that is affordable, making this powerful little tool even more valuable.

For corded reciprocating saws, having a higher amp will suffice for most jobs, and anything over 12 amps will do the work well. If you prefer to have a cordless (or battery-powered) reciprocating saw, today’s models will impress you with their powerful, long-lasting lithium batteries, many of which deliver as much as 50 percent more work output and 50 percent more charges to the life of the battery. These are also better equipped to handle extreme heat and cold temperatures.

Another factor to consider is the stroke length or the distance the blade travels in one forward stroke, can vary according to the size of the saw. A long stroke reciprocating saw will cut faster but will need more clearance to do its job, and more amps to drive the blade. As a rule of thumb, use a long-stroke model for more demolition work, and a shorter stroke saw for more delicate, precise work.

  • Stroke Length ( 1-4-inch )

An orbital reciprocating saw adds oscillation, or back and forth movement, to the regular reciprocation adding a slight up and down motion to the cut, resulting in an oval-like cut, that is best for wood. A short-stroke reciprocating saw allows you to get into tighter places where other saws cannot reach. A heavier reciprocating saw will reduce vibration a little more than lightweight saws. However, you may prefer a lighter weight. It all depends on your own personal comfort.

Tip: When shopping for a reciprocating saw, lift the model above your head to see how comfortable it feels. If the vibration is an issue for you, take a look at the models with AVT – anti-vibration technology. Makita, for example, is known for its AVT models. Now that you have a little background in reciprocating saws, and know what you want, let’s learn how to handle it.

How to use a Reciprocating Saw?

Choose the Right Blade

Having a reciprocating saw for the job is the right tool, but if you don’t have the right blade, it instantly becomes the wrong tool. Choosing the correct blade for the specific project ensures the best experience. Of course, there is a multitude of different blades for a reciprocating saw, but doing your homework before you choose will make all the difference. If you’re not sure which blade to choose for the project, we recommend starting with a material-specific blade.

For instance, if you are working with steel, choose a blade that is specifically for working on steel projects. There will still be a lot of choices, but selecting in this category will narrow them way down.

Insert the Blade into the Chuck

Make sure the tool is unplugged first, or remove the battery in cordless models, then insert the blade. Just about all of today’s reciprocating saws on the market have a tool-free chuck system that works by simply quarter- or half-turning to release and insert the blade. Allowing the chuck to return to its original position secures the blade in place. It is always best to give the blade a little tug to make sure that it is secured in the chuck before operating. When removing a blade that was just used, use gloves to remove it because it will be hot.

Know How your cut will go Before you Begin

Once that reciprocating saw comes into contact with your material, your focus will be on how it is cutting – but the blade will extend far beyond the cut. Make sure your blade won’t be hitting anything else in its path when it quickly moves back and forth from its farthest point. This is especially important to consider when you are plunge-cutting into drywall where you cannot see what is on the other side of the drywall. It is important to check for electrical wiring, plumbing, etc. before you begin.

Know your Speed

Once you get a feel for the speed of your reciprocating saw, this will become more intuitive. Before doing the main cutting, create a small cut slowly to see how it reacts to the material in speed and in torque. This will help you gain more control over the bulk of the work. As the blade approaches the exit of the cut, you will want to slow down.

The Shoe is Good to Have

The shoe is more like the nose of the reciprocating saw – its flat surface acts as the base and serves several purposes for this saw. Some shoes can be adjusted to move forward or back to extend the blade life, but even a shoe that remains stationary is important. The shoe also works to stabilize the saw and the material. If you push the shoe all the way against the material you are cutting, you will find that the vibration of the saw will reduce dramatically.

If you are cutting the material too shallow, you will see an increase in the vibration of the saw and/or the material itself. Also, the shoe acts like a fulcrum for plunge cuts – by raising the back end of the saw and allowing the shoe to work as a pivotal point, this gives you more control to plunge into the material.

Slowly Work the Blade as a see-saw in a Thicker Material

If the blade is progressing slowly through the heavy or thick material and giving you quite the workout, it can mean a couple things: One, that the blade is dull and needs to be replaced; or Two, it could just mean that you are not letting the reciprocating saw do all the heavy lifting.

When working with the denser material, you will need to gently rock the blade back and forth like a see-saw and then you will find that the saw makes faster progress as this reduces the load and this allows the blade’s teeth to focus on a smaller section at a time. We hope you have enjoyed these tips!

What Types of Reciprocating Saws Blades Are There?

Depending on the type of project and the material that is being cut, there are several types of blades that can be used with a reciprocating saw. For example, there is a fine-tooth blade that resembles a hacksaw that is used for cutting through metal pipe and nails; a coarse blade is for cutting wood; a super-coarse blade for plaster; and a “toothless” blade for cutting stone and are coated with a special abrasive grit.

The longer you work with your reciprocating saw, the more familiar you will become with how it works and what you can accomplish with it. Then, you will have more confidence in choosing a blade that will do a specific task. You will find out that you can actually use one type of blade for several different projects, depending on how that particular blade functions. For example, you can certainly use a nail-cutting blade to work with shingles or plywood.

Most reciprocating saw blades sizes range from three to 12 inches in length but the standard size is six inches. There are the jig-saw types that are available as well. The 12-inch blades that are useful for getting into deeper crevices or even cutting through the thicker timber. Although they are tough, these blades are not indestructible. Rather, they are disposable and should be replaced when you notice that they are getting dull and slowing down the job.

Teeth: The number of teeth per inch (TPI), combined with the gullet size – which is the depth of the space between the teeth, and the kerf – the slit made by the blade, all determines the material the blade can cut.

  • Blades with a low TPI deliver faster cuts and rougher edges, ideal for wood.
  • Blades with a high TPI deliver smooth, slow cuts, ideal for metal – read through our guide for the perfect metal cutting tool.
  • The number of TPI ranges from 3-24.
  • To reduce snagging, try to have at least three teeth come into contact with the material at all times.

There are three Facets to a Reciprocating saw Blade to keep in mind: Length, width, and thickness.

  • The longer the blade, the deeper the cut.
  • Wider blades will reduce bending and wobbling.
  • Heavy-duty blades are typically 7/8-inches wide and 0.062-inches thick.
  • Blades that are 0.035-inches thick provide sufficient strength for standard cutting.
  • Blades that are 0.05-inches thick are for enhanced stability.
  • For plunge-cutting jobs, short blades with tapered backs do the best work.

To extend the life of your blades, you can try hammering out the blade flat, if it is bent. You can also try a little trick by cutting off the tip at an angle with some tin snips that presents a sharper blade. Make sure you wear safety goggles for this. Let’s look at the different types of reciprocating saw blades that are currently on the market:

  • Carbon steel As the most common blade, this is great for cutting softwood and plastic but will dull quickly with hardwoods and other hard materials. These are flexible to allow for bending without breaking.
  • Bimetal blades are bonded with tool steel teeth and will remain flexible longer, outperforming the standard carbon steel blades with faster cutting, but they are more expensive. Carbide-tipped blades are the most common bimetal reciprocating saw blade, working very well for the tougher cuts.
  • High-speed steel (HSS) blades are also more expensive than carbon steel, but they are also much harder and this allows them to cut through hardwoods without dulling as quick. Makes the best choice as an all-purpose, long lasting blade that lasts five times longer than carbon steel. These blades have durable teeth but are more prone to breakage.
  • Carbide-grit blades are a more abrasive blade that is made for harder materials like marble, ceramic, cement board, and fiberglass. This is the most common type of abrasive reciprocating blade and had a coating that ranges from medium to heavy-duty.
  • Diamond blades have real diamonds embedded in the tips and are used to cut through glass, ceramic, and concrete. There are six types of blades that are made to do specific tasks:
  •  A ripping blade has a larger gullet (the area between teeth) and few teeth which remove wood quickly and efficiently, producing a rough cut.
  • A crosscutting blade has many teeth and a small gullet that produces a very smooth and concise cut.
  • A combination blade is more of a general-purpose blade that is in between ripping and crosscutting, for a wider range of tasks.
  • Plywood blades have more teeth than crosscutting, which helps to suppress the chipping and splintering common to plywood, creating a smoother, cleaner cut.
  • Thin kerf blades are for easier cutting without much waste. The kerf is the size of the slot the blade cuts in the material.
  • An abrasive blade is coated with a coarse material, allowing them to cut through tile, masonry, and steel.

DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt

Top Pick

We selected this tool as our top choice not only for the high-quality design, but also for the versatile power this tool packs. This is a cordless model, so it offers convenience in terms of performance in tight, confined areas, and with a full charge and a sharp blade, it handles most heavy duty metal materials and other materials like wood and plastic with precision and ease. The four-position blade clamp makes it convenient to position the blade in four different ways, and the keyless blade change system makes changes a breeze – just pull the lever at the front of the saw to instantly release a blade and insert new one.

Like all DeWalt power saws, the base of the DC385 is made from durable quality plastic that covers about 60 percent of these saws, and the trigger area has anti-slip rubber to provide a more comfortable grip, with a steel base beneath – adding more protection and construction that is required during demolition projects.The high-performance, variable-speed motor will deliver speed up to 3000 strokes per minute, with a stroke length of 1-1/8-inch. This saw is lightweight, portable, and handles very well, providing a nice addition to your arsenal of power equipment.

DEWALT DCS387P1 20-volt

Premium Choice

Lightweight and compact, this seven-pound, 14.5-inch saw makes life easy for cutting into those hard-to-reach areas. What makes this saw extra nice is the four-position blade clamp that provides a more versatile blade positioning and allows for flush cutting in difficult angles with tool-free blade changes. Included with this cordless saw is a five-inch lithium battery, which has received praise from consumers who claim this alone is well worth the cost of the kit. The variable speed trigger with a 2900 strokes per minute (SPM) and a stroke length of 1-1/8-inch delivers faster cutting speed with increased blade control, providing more precision cuts, and it has a pivoting shoe for better positioning and control.

The DeWalt DCS387P1 also includes a bright LED light that works well in illuminating dark areas for more visibility for a more accurate, safer cutting. This kit also comes with a handy bag for easy storage and organization. As a compact, cordless reciprocating saw with so many great features included, this is our Premium Choice.

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V

Great Value

If you need a lightweight saw that delivers a heavy-duty cutting performance like no other, then read on, because you will surely be impressed with everything these saws offer. As cordless saws go, the BDCR20B is ready to impress with an increased runtime battery and will cut into any type of surface in record time, adjustable to any material with its variable speed control trigger. This allows the user to manipulate and manage the speed rate depending on the toughness of the application, which in itself is a great feature for both novices and professionals alike.

Designed for craftsmen, contractors, and for DIYers, this is a versatile tool that is a must-have for the workshop and delivers as much as 30-percent more work output, and built to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures. The shorter 7/8-inch stroke of these tools will give you more precise control for delicate projects, also allowing you to get into tighter, more confined areas where a conventional saw cannot fit. Most lightweight reciprocating saws are known for their heavy vibration, but this Black & Decker model took this into consideration by including their dampening technology that works to reduce vibrations significantly, providing more handling control, more comfort, and less user fatigue.

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  1. Anthony says:

    This is my first reciprocating saw, I need to take down an old extension and needed a powerful tool to cut through different types of materials, after reading this review I went for the Black & Decker BDCR20B as is was cordless and was a good price as I didn’t want to spend too much money out.

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