How to find the best Reciprocating Saw aka Sawzall of 2018?
A reciprocating saw (also called sawzall, saber saw, hognose saw and recip saw) is an essential tool to any workshop as it allows you to perform quick cuts that don’t necessarily need to be perfect in its design.
Why You Need a Reciprocating Saw
Electric reciprocating saws (just like the best jigsaws) can be utilized to performed curved cuts on the end of lumber or on thinner sheets of wood, however, jigsaws have a more narrow and shorter blade which makes these cuts easier to perform but that leads us to the best reciprocating saws which have wider, longer and thicker blades which is designed to grind through the material much more quickly (and if necessary to a greater depth as well).
What factors that I really like about reciprocating saws is that they usually come with large and powerful motors and the exterior casing of the saws are quite durable which means you won’t need to worry about damaging the internals of the reciprocating saw even if you were to drop it.
One factor mentioned above that I’d like to briefly touch on is the motor/power.
Many times in the past I’ve introduced reciprocating saws to wood workers who haven’t used a good reciprocating saw in the past (as they never thought that they’ve needed one) and they’re always surprised at the power capabilities and performance. Then they are racing to find new uses with their big list of projects.
If you end up purchasing a reciprocating saw you’ll quickly learn that it’ll become an essential part of your workshop arsenal and I’m sure you’ll quickly be thinking of new projects and ways to take advantage of its power along with the convenience that it provides of being able to perform cuts quickly.
The Benefits of Purchasing a Reciprocating Saw
- Much safer to use compared to circular saws. Reciprocating saws make overhead jobs much easier to complete and are easier to grip and hold during the cut(s) that you’re performing.
- Much more versatile in their use in that you can get the blade on the reciprocating saw in to hard-to-reach spaces and behind material(s) that are “fixed” in placement. With a Sawzall, you’ll be able to reach spaces that other types of saws could never reach making this kind of saw a “must have” for any serious woodsman.
- They are perfect if your project requirements include you needing to cut holes (or slots) in the middle of sheets of wood or even walls.
- Highly capable of allowing you to perform flush cuts around material(s) that are adjacent which would normally block other types of saws from making the cut.
Now that you have a better understanding of what top reciprocating saws are capable of and know why you need one for your workshop, let’s get to the review list of the best 5 reciprocating saws in 2018!
The 10 Best Reciprocating Saws
We spent 27 hours on research, screenshoting, and editing, to review the top picks for this article. Whether you’re facing a hard DIY project or are a construction professional, you will find the perfect reciprocating saw for your next job in our selection. They are ideal for cutting PVC piping, fitting windows, making holes in walls or hacking through just anything, including screws, tree limbs and even nails. When visitors buy our self chosen editorial picks, we may earn commisions in order to support our work. Skip to the best reciprocating saw on Amazon.
1. Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 FUEL Super SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw Kit with 1 Battery
Few years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a tool event where manufactures showcased their latest and greatest products and I accompanied a friend of mine who has owned a local tool shop for over 20 years.
After having some hands-on testing of the M18 reciprocating saw I decided to purchase one for myself so I could conduct a more in-depth review on its capabilities and after a few weeks of usage on 7 different projects this finest Sawzall held up quite well and I honestly have no disappointments. The M18 reciprocating saw is still well ahead of other newer recip saws.
What’s important to understand about this particular reciprocating saw is that it’s one of the first of its kind to go head-to-head with competing “corded” models by providing the power that was once thought only possible with the best corded reciprocal saw models.
I personally tested this goal of theirs and used this sawzall on multiple types of construction materials and it shreds through them like there’s no tomorrow! Quite literally, this reciprocating saw cuts through materials like a hot knife through butter!
By purchasing the Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 reciprocating saw, you’ll receive a saw that:
- Provides insanely quick cutting speeds (the best sawzall in its class, not the best reciprocating saw in general) with an increase in both the power and durability.
- Boasts a Brushless motor which if you didn’t already know will provide you with consistent power, a reduction in heat and better energy efficiency which will allow you to use the reciprocating saw for a longer duration of time.
- Has been optimized for performance with the technology to detect overload on the reciprocating saw which will alleviate the chance of damaging the sawzall.
Let’s start with the weight which in all honesty is quite a great attribute of this great Sawzall as it only weighs 8.9 pounds which when you’re using both hands is quite easy to grasp, manage and handle (thanks to the great handle/grip).
The M18 reciprocating saw boasts a 1 1/8″ stroke length with up to 3,000 strokes per minute (multiple speed settings available).
One thing that I suggest is that you purchase the kit so you receive not one but two 4.0 batteries as if you purchase this great recip saw alone you’ll one receive one. Purchasing the kit is great for contractors and those who move from “job site” to “job site” as you’ll have more mobility with the power that you need.
Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Reciprocating saw Features and Functionalities
Quik-lok Blade Mechanism One of the first features that I want to discuss is the “Quik-lok” blade changing feature which provides a slide (which is spring loaded) located towards the front-end of this awesome sawzall. You can insert the blade either forwardly or reversed although sideways insertion isn’t possible. With this mechanism, you can work with the reciprocating saw being rest assured that the blade being released won’t occur so this is a great feature for accident-free woodworking on projects.
Rafter Hook Workspace organization to me is important as it helps me to better focus on the project at hand. The Rafter Hook was a tiny yet convenient addition by Milwaukee as the built-in hook allows you to hang this extraordinary sawzall up for later use so finding a resting spot for the reciprocating saw couldn’t be easier.
2. DEWALT DCS380P1 20V MAX Lithium Ion Reciprocating Saw Kit
Power and efficiency is what sum-up the DEWALT DCS380P1 20V MAX recip saw and yet again, Dewalt has done a fantastic job at combining power with the usage time that us “saw enthusiasts” have come to expect!
Dewalt has listened to consumers and have instituted a blade clamp system which offers 4 different positions so position versatility is quite great meaning you’ll be able to accommodate more project requirements.
One aspect of this reciprocating saw that’s worth writing home about is the cutting speed which competes with any other saw within its class!
The stroke length which is 1-1/8″ is an improvement over previous Dewalt reciprocating saws models with faster cutting speeds of up to 3,000 strokes per minute which will grind through whatever material you’re working on.
When you purchase the Dewalt DCS380P1, you’ll receive a reciprocating saw that:
- Boasts a blade clamp system which provides the ability to use 4 unique positions.
- Has a 1-1/8″ Stroke Length.
- Provides an innovative “Variable Speed Trigger” with settings that provide up to 3,000 strokes per minute.
- Has a “double oil sealed shaft” which helps to keep debris and contamination out.
- Has shoe that pivots and adjusts.
The blade control is second-to-none and I didn’t experience any flexing of the blade even on thick wood and it demonstrated no signs of hesitation/resistance.
Of course, durability was a top-priority of Dewalt when building and designing this reciprocating saw which is why they implemented a show that both pivots and adjusts which greatly increases the life-span of the blade while allowing you to control the depth of your cuts.
When you factor in the “double” oil sealed shaft that deflects debris you’re presented with a recip saw by Dewalt that will surely provide you with years of use!
Between its power, its cordless ability which makes working on “out of the house” projects easier and its rubber molded comfort grip; The Dewalt DCS380P1 20V MAX reciprocal saw is one of the best recip saws that I’ve used and I would highly recommend it to those looking for versatility and mobility!
3. DEWALT DW311K 13-Amp Reciprocating-Saw
The DEWALT DW311K reciprocating saw is a powerful 13-amp saw that’s designed for both personal and professional jobs with the versatility of accommodating any of your job requirements.
With the DEWALT DW311K, you’ll maybe have the best reciprocating saw, with variable speed control of 0-2,700 strokes per minute! Unlike some other great reciprocating saws on the market, the DEWALT DW311K speed setting(s) can be adjusted without your hand ever leaving the reciprocating saw with a single push of a button.
What’s great about the easy-to-change speed controls is that you can change the settings quickly per your requirements as you’re working on the job which allows for a seamless transition when changing from one task to another.
This leading reciprocating saw variable speed settings will delivers power that’s great because of this option as you can quickly switch from lower speed settings (if you’re cutting metal) to higher speed settings for materials such as plywood.
When you purchase the Dewalt DW311K, you’ll receive a reciprocating saw that:
- Boasts a thin and sharp saw that’s built to standards that cuts through material quite easily.
- Is powered by a powerful 13 AMP motor which is powerful enough to handle any task that you put it to the test to.
- Takes advantage of Orbital blade movements which will allow you to perform faster (and easier) cuts.
- Has a stroke length of 1-1/8″ with strokes per minute of up to 2,700.
- Has a keyless and adjustable show which makes switching out the blades effortless.
With the Dewalt DW311K, Dewalt decided to go with the industry standards with a stroke speed of 1-1/8″ which essentially means that you’ll be able to use this perfect reciprocating saw to perform cuts even on commercial material so if you’re planning on using this reciprocating saw for “around the house” projects then this reciprocating saw model will certainly meet any of your project demands.
After using this reciprocating saw, which might be the best reciprocating saw, to perform multiple cuts on an array of materials, I can say full heartedly that it’s a highly capable saw that truly doesn’t hesitate to grind through any material that you’re using it on.
The one inch thick blade never posed to be an issue in regards to its thickness as it boasts a 13-amp powered motor with a large cutting capacity and it performed incredible well on plastic, wood and metal (the three materials that I tested it on).
The Dewalt DW311K Provides Incredible Power and Awesome Durability Power is the number one factor that most top reciprocating saws shoppers take in to consideration and the Dewalt DW311K is one of the most powerful saws that I’ve gotten my hands on to review.
First of all, it’s powered by a 13 AMP motor and its outer shell/body is very durable which Dewalt designed for abuse as this reciprocating saw was intended for on-site work where the recip saw will be exposed to rough environments.
What’s also impressive about the Dewalt DW311K is that even under heavy workload, the motor doesn’t choke or bog down and the torque is consistent making it the best reciprocating saw to purchase if you’re constantly cutting tougher material.
The Dewalt DW311K Blade System Another great feature of the Dewalt DW311K is that it includes a variable keyless shoe which doesn’t require the use of any tools to adjust.
I actually was able to change out the blade on the reciprocating saw with only one hand and did so in under a minute which to me is important when I’m working on a project that needs to be done in a timely manner.
Unlike some other saws, the movement of the blade isn’t straight. On the Dewalt DW311K, the blade has orbital movement which actually makes cutting through material much easier. If you find yourself needing to cut through material such as metal you can easily and quickly change out the reciprocating blade for another type.
4. Bosch CRS180K 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Reciprocating Saw
Next up on my list is the Bosch CRS180K, an unbeaten reciprocating saw manufacturer that I’ve been a fan of for years as they also do a great job at building quality reciprocating saws and they always use some of the highest quality blades that I’ve seen.
With the Bosch CRS180K, you’ll have the option of switching between two speed options with a stroke of 1-1/8″ and will be able to take advantage of the power at a fraction of what some other awesome reciprocating saws cost.
While there were a couple of cases where even the optimal reciprocating saw blade pinched and briefly stopped, overall, I’m very happy with the performance that I received and the strokes went quite smoothly when cutting through both wood and metal material.
While the power is exceptional, the only area that I wish this best reciprocating saw did better in is in the “low torque” department so that blade pinching doesn’t happen.
The Bosch CRS180K performs quite well and I enjoyed reviewing it on the few projects that I used it on. Depth control is easy to manage and the fixed show placement was quite solid which immensely reduces any vibration that could be caused from usage.
Get the Bosch CRS180K and you’ll finally have a reciprocating saw that:
- Has a compact design/size making it easier to reach tight areas.
- Has a Lock-Jaw blade mechanism which makes changing the blades out an effortless task.
- Is lightweight by design making it easier to manage and maneuver the reciprocating saw for cuts.
- Provides a 1 1/8″ stroke which allows you to perform cuts quicker since more material per stroke is being removed.
- Boasts two separate speed settings so you can make adjustments based on the material that you’re cutting.
One thing that by now I’m sure you’re wondering is the battery life. On a full charge I was able to have nearly four hours of use from the reciprocating saw which for me is perfect as I typically don’t use my best reciprocating saws for more than a couple of hours at a time (thanks to my back).
5. DEWALT DCS387P1 20-volt MAX Lithium Ion Compact Reciprocating Saw
Dewalt is a household name their brand is known for their quality craftsmanship and ability to put-out high-quality saws that will last for a lifetime if properly cared for.
The Dewalt DCS387P1 20V Max XR is quite a powerful reciprocating saw with an impressive 2,000 revolutions per minute!
While it’s more powerful and capable then most of the jobs that you’d probably use it would require, it’s nice to have such a powerful and capable to be the best reciprocating saw that will handle anything that you put it to the test to.
I used this reciprocating saw and tested it on high-speed drilling projects and masonry type work and it really performed much better than I could’ve ever hoped.
As I find myself working on quite a few projects that are both personal and client related jobs, it’s nice to have an ideal reciprocating saw that can quite easily go from wood working jobs to masonry projects which makes it the perfect choice for contractors!
By purchasing the Dewalt DCS387P1 20V Cordless Reciprocating Saw you’ll receive a saw that:
- Has a compact design that’s lightweight and durable.
- Versatility as you’ll be able to fit the reciprocating saw blade in confined areas allowing you tackle any job.
- Provides a Blade Clamp with 4 unique positions which allows you to perform flush cuts.
- Has a 1-1/8″ stroke length who allows you to perform faster cuts (increased cutting speeds).
- Boasts what’s called a “Variable Speed Trigger” with 0-2,900 spm.
It’s worth noting that the Dewalt DCS387P1 20V Max reciprocating saw performs at very quiet noise levels which is due to the brushless motor which also provides the benefit of being more energy efficient.
Being energy efficient reciprocating saw for me was a huge plus as it’ll provide you with a longer duration of usage so you’ll be able to spend more time working and less time charging the battery.
Since I have a tendency to work with the reciprocating saw outside of my garage and sometimes around the house (where power outlets aren’t available), the cordless ability is one of its greatest features as I’m not bound to work in a certain area which also makes this great for contractors who move from job site to job site.
Whether you’re on a job site, outside around the house or working on a deck/patio this versatile reciprocating saw will surely not disappoint as you’ll have the freedom to work anywhere that your project requires you to be.
Perfect for Masonry Project with Multiple Speed Settings The Dewalt 20V cordless reciprocating saw is the perfect solution for masonry projects as it offers 3 unique speed settings for high-speed drill settings of up to 24,000 bpm! Although keep in mind (just as with any other reciprocating saw), a specialized masonry bit must be used to prevent the occurrence of cracking/chipping in the concrete and so the breakage can be avoided.
6. Hitachi CR13VBY 12-Amp Reciprocating Saw
Hitachi Koki is a manufacturer with a long tradition in producing various professional-grade power equipment and electric power tools. Hitachi product lines are based on product quality and reliability.
Hitachi CR13VBY reciprocal saw is known as a product for heavy and very efficient use, so if you need a stable and very reliable saw for a tough task it solves all your problems.
With the impossible to imagine 65% reduced vibration transferred to the user, after many others reciprocal saws I used, this was the very feeling that I was holding the best saw with the least vibration. This is a new technology called UVP (User Vibration Protection) that reduces the transferred vibration.
With a possible 3000 strokes in a minute, the Hitachi CR13VBY is very reliable for heavy work and different materials.
The Hitachi CR13VBY Reciprocal Saw features:
- UVP (User Vibration Protection) system reduces vibration by 65%.
- 12 AMP motor with 0-3000 spm for fast and diverse cutting.
- Variable speed with dual action – reciprocating and swing (2x faster).
- Stroke length of 1-1/4″ with a blade changing system.
- Specially designed D-shaped handle for maximized user comfort.
Very interesting features are the fast and effective change of blades which is tool-less, and also the variable speed. The saw has 2 types of cutting mechanisms. One is a straight mode, used for a variety of materials and the other is “swing” mode, which has less rebound effect as compared to traditional orbital action, and which is more efficient in working with wooden materials.
A user-friendly design is something that this saw has. The ergonomic shape makes the Hitachi CR13VBY easy to handle and ideal for daily use. With the UVP and comfort of usage, it makes you love it more than other saws. I know that many people pay attention to the maintenance of the saw, but Hitachi has a solution for that too. It is the triple sealed dust and water resistance that helps to protect the tool and increase its duration and performance.
7. Makita JR3070CT AVT Recipro Saw – 15 AMP
Makita is a well-known manufacturer of industrial tools and good quality power tools and it exists on the market for more than 100 years.
The reciprocating series are getting innovated every time the new product appears and Makita’s JR3070CT reciprocating saw has many new features. When it comes to the new features, 2x fewer vibration thanks to AVT (Anti-Vibration Technology) is something that beats the competition.
This saw has a superpower of maximum 2800 strokes and less vibration at the same time, which brings the winning combination for somebody looking for both possibilities with high values. It is known by its slogan: More Work, Less Vibration.
The good thing that makes Makita JR3070CT roughly versatile is that with a four-way blade positioning you can use it literally on any material. I have tried it on metal and wood and the power was unbelievable.
What I have noticed, and I am sure anybody who takes this saw in the hands will too, is that it’s a very powerful machine and very secure at the same time.
By purchasing Makita JR3070CT you will get a saw with these characteristics:
- 15 AMP power with a variable speed control (2800 spm).
- Anti-vibration technology with 2x less vibration.
- Clutch assembly for gear protection and running at a constant speed.
- Long stroke for faster cutting ( 1-1/4″).
- Tool-less blade change for 4 different adjustments.
- Dustproof design keeping the dust away from inner spaces of the tool.
If you are detail oriented, with interest in the two previously emphasized features (strokes speed and vibration), this saw has one more very interesting component – it’s designed in a way that doesn’t let the dust enter the tool.
One thing that came to me before I used the Makita JR3070CT was that it’s heavier than other saws (9.7 lbs), but sincerely it didn’t make any difference. When it comes to usability the saw is suggested for carpenters, farmers, electricians, remodelers and for all who would use it for demanding cutting applications.
8. PORTER-CABLE PCC670B TIGERSAW
Porter-Cable has a reputable name in the power tool industry for more than 100 years. Its line of construction tools are known for providing high quality performance without breaking the bank.
Porter-Cable PCC670B is a versatile saw that any DIY-er and artisan would love, mainly due to its power, light weight and ability to make cuts even in cramped and tight spaces.
It was one of the smallest recip saws I’ve ever gotten my hands on yet it is compatible for aggressive cutting, which surprised me. I was impressed with the High Performance Drivetrain of this cutting tool, with maximum of 3,000-SPM. Porter-Cable also made it so easy it to switch from one speed to another with the saw’s trigger control.
By purchasing Porter Cable PCC 670B Tigersaw You’ll have a cutting tool that:
- Has a 12 AMP powerful motor.
- Boasts of a compact design of about 14 ½” making it easy to use in small spaces.
- Provides 20V lithium battery with lower self-discharge for longer run time.
- Features a tool-free blade changing mechanism for fast and easy switching of blades.
- Comes with a variable speed trigger
If you are a DIYer or a professional that needs to work on tight spaces for a relatively long time, PCC670B is a good choice for you. I found the weight and size remarkable, as I was able to successfully use just one hand at times. The contoured handle was indeed comfortable on the hands, too!
Many sawzalls already feature easy blade changing, but I’ll still give bonus points to PCC670B for it—all it took me was a few seconds to have a new blade in place without any sweat.
9. Black & Decker BDCR20B Reciprocating Saw
Black and Decker is known for offering a wide-range of affordable home tools and has stepped up their game in terms of power tools essential to the everyday handyman. The BDCR20B is an example of that, a reliable saw often tagged as one of the current best sawzalls.
Cutting power and speed are the main elements being highlighted in BDCR20B. Aptly so, as reciprocating saws cutting performance greatly depend on these two features. Black & Decker packed this model with 3000 SPM motor which the user can take great control of. Depending on the cutting task at hand, the included variable speed trigger and electric brake can customize the needed power and speed of this reciprocating saw.
Getting a Black & Decker BDCR20B Reciprocating Saw will ensure you of these:
- Cordless tool with 20V battery.
- Very lightweight saw at 4lbs for easy cutting experience.
- Pivoting shoe for better cutting angles.
- Convenient tool-less changing of blades.
- Stroke length of 7/8-inches that is handy for delicate cutting jobs.
The BDCR20B reciprocating saw are safe and convenient option for beginners who have projects everywhere, as this provides the option to do the cutting job away from a power source. With a 20V battery, it doesn’t have a problem with high strokes rate, ensuring a powerful cutting tool even when not directly connected to the outlet.
This saw delivered a good performance, but I found the stroke length of 7/8-inches lacking, as this is less than the 10 inches and above standard stroke length in most of sawzalls today. While the shorter length is ideal for more precise control in detailed projects and you can use this to cut through most things, it could give a disadvantage for some professionals.
But if you need a reciprocating saw for personal use and cutting for small household projects, BDCR20B is a great lightweight option that can do most tasks.
10. SKIL 9216-01 Reciprocating Saw
Skil has a long history of high-performing carpentry tools, making it one of the most trusted brands in the power tool industry.
Skil 9216-01 Reciprocating Saw embodies Skil’s known expertise in crafting a cutting tools that can handle tough jobs. It’s powerful 9 amp motor and 2,700 RPM make it durable for any kind of work—making cutting a breeze even for a newbie. Its power allows this saw to make cuts in any surface.
This model is user-friendly saw too, giving the option for speed changes and designed ergonomically to make it handy for both professionals and beginners.
By purchasing Skil 9216-01 Reciprocating Saw You will get a cutting tool with these attributes:
- Variable Speed Control for easy manipulation of speed rate.
- Power on indicator as a safety mechanism feature.
- Metal gear housing for durability.
- Counter balance and pivoting foot for sturdy cutting stance.
- Soft-grip feature for comfort.
First thing I like about Skil 9216-01 Reciprocating Saw is the durable housing it has, which is very important as naturally, one would like to use a tool for many years. While in use, I noticed the difference in the vibration in cutting with a counter balance, as it was considerably lessened. This is really helpful for long hours of cutting job, especially for professionals.
The 9216-01 model is another tool added to this best list because it delivers what it promises. The power and ease of use are its key features, yet Skil did not hold back in adding details that will help the user: tool-less blade changing, soft-grip, pivoting foot, among other. This is definitely a recip saw that any type of builder or craftsman would be pleased to have.
Best Reciprocating Saw Conclusion
So, now that I’ve reviewed the best reciprocating saws, which one do I think is best sawzall? Well, taking in to consideration the cost, features/functionalities and power capabilities, my choice is going to be the Dewalt DCS380P1 20V Max as the power is unmatched with up to 3,000 strokes per minute!
I’ve been using reciprocating saws for years and have extensive experience when knowing which saws are worth buying and the Dewalt DVS380P1 takes my number one spot as this reciprocating saw has a blade clamp system that has four unique positions, a “double oil sealed shaft” which deflects debris and contamination and boasts a show that pivots.
With all of these great features being provided in one saw it was an easy choice to make!
Even though we didn’t mention great tools like the Makita JR3050T here, we hope our guide was able to provide you with some valuable insight on your journey to purchasing a reciprocating saw and be sure that you check out some of our other in-depth review guides on saws to see which ones will work best for your projects!