Reciprocating saws are the ultimate tool to cut through almost anything. They are most commonly used for demolishing and remodeling, but they won’t do the job right if you pick a model with substandard quality. There are myriad features to sift through, but I’ve put together a guide to help you identify the best reciprocating saw out there.
Reviews of the Best Reciprocating Saws
1. DEWALT 20V Max Reciprocating Saw
The Dewalt 20V Max Reciprocating Saw has a 4-position blade clamp that provides better control and more versatility when cutting wood. The 1-⅛ stroke length makes these battery powered reciprocating saws cut faster with the speed trigger.
From 0-3000 SPM, you can adjust how fast you go and how quickly you get the job done. This also features a heavy duty pivoting shoe that is adjustable to prolong the lifespan of your blade and creates more depth control.
The system in this saw is faster than other options and combines lithium-ion batteries with other innovative technologies.
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2. BLACK+DECKER 20V Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Cordless reciprocating saws are great if you value portability. Also running on the 20V system, the Black+Decker 20V Max Reciprocating Saw gives you maximum control with the integrated variable speed trigger and the pivoting shoe feature. It’s incredibly lightweight at only a little above 5 pounds, which means less strain on your arm and longer working hours.
For safety, this saw has an electric brake, and the 3000 SPM motor will cut through the toughest materials quickly.
From my hands-on experience, I’ve found that this option is not only easy on the wallet but also boasts a tool-less blade change, making material switches swift and hassle-free. The lithium-ion battery pack, with its 20V system, genuinely stands out as more efficient and robust compared to others I’ve tried.
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3. WORX WX550L 20V AXIS 2-in-1 Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw
The WORX WX550L is a 20 volt 2-in-1 reciprocating saw and jigsaw. The easy blade change from one type to another is done with a simple push of a button. What’s amazing about the WX550L is the orbital action blade rather than the traditional back and forth. I felt that the orbital action blade cut through wood and other materials faster with less fatigue.
The WX550L is versatile, being compatible with both 20V and 40V tools from WORX. And at a mere 4 pounds, the design is lightweight, making it easy to grip and highly portable when moving between job sites. Plus, I must say, the battery’s performance is equally impressive.
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4. PORTER-CABLE Reciprocating Saw
Porter Cable 20V MAX reciprocating saws are superior and offer peak performance thanks to their efficiency and power. This battery powered reciprocating saw from Porter-Cable also features a high-performance drivetrain that gives a 1-inch stroke length and 0-3000 SPM.
The compact reciprocating saw also has a tool-free blade change with a quick release button and is great for cutting wood in cramped spaces. Like most other saws, the Porter Cable reciprocating saw has a variable speed adjustment trigger feature that will increase the control you have over cutting.
Get ready to work for longer hours without fatigue thanks to the overmolded handle on this recip saw that is designed for comfort. The battery is sold separately, though, so prepare to pay extra.
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5. GALAX PRO Reciprocating Saw
Not having to wait long for the tool to charge earns the GALAX PRO a spot on my list. The 20 Ah battery of this recip saw charges in as little as an hour and has a battery indicator so you won’t ever be caught off guard.
Speaking from experience, these reciprocating saws feature a variable speed trigger, allowing you to choose anywhere between 0-3000 strokes per minute. This flexibility enables seamless cuts through materials like fiberglass, metal, or cast iron. And, I can attest to the convenience of the lever-activated blade change, which requires no tools – a significant advantage in my book.
This GALAX PRO Reciprocating Saw is light in weight and provides excellent performance. Plus, it features a good grip to lessen strain when cutting wood.
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6. SnapFresh Cordless Reciprocating Saw
The SnapFresh Cordless Reciprocating Saw offers a wider range of motion compared to corded reciprocating saws. It cuts faster and is ultra-light weight for quick cutting of wood and other materials. The battery powered compact saw makes one-handed jobs easier and the battery can reach a full charge in just one hour.
The kit includes a variety of blades, which I find quite useful. I also appreciate the saw’s quick switch mechanism; it’s not just easy but also safe, thanks to the auto-lock chuck on the clamp and the tool-less blade switch design.
Moreover, its motor is quite robust. I’ve been able to adjust the cutting speed anywhere between 0-3000 SPM, which provides the versatility I often need.
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7. Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 Fuel Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw
The Milwaukee 2722-20 Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw rounds out my saw recommendations. It’s highly priced compared to other design options such as the one from Dewalt due to the integration of more features. For example, there is a rafter hook on the design that allows you to store the saw easily when you’re finished with your cutting task. It’s also light in weight.
The M18 fuel saw also features an LED light that can light up the way to minimize cutting errors. The 1-¼ inch stroke length and variable speed trigger will give you longer strokes to get through more material each time. In addition, the battery lasts long as well.
You can also check other models including my review of Milwaukee 2821-20.
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Reciprocating Saws Buyer’s Guide
As staple power tools in wood projects and demolition work, the best reciprocating saws should be well priced, have everything you need, including a powerful motor, reliable cutting performance, and a long battery life. I have put together different features to consider when you’re looking to buy your first reciprocating saw in the market.
Motor Power and Speed
How fast you can complete your DIY projects and how efficiently is dictated by the motor power and the speed of the reciprocating saw. Let’s talk about the speed of the blade first, which is referred to as the SPM, or strokes per minute. Most of the options I introduced have 3000 SPM, which is what you should look for.
Most reciprocating saws like MAKITA JR3050T with variable speed triggers that can control the speed via trigger pressure. However, there are some that have a variable speed dial design that’s more hands-on. I recommend the speed trigger for control because it doesn’t require you to stop what you’re doing to change speeds on the recip saw.
The next consideration is motor power. The power of your saw greatly hinges on this. A 12 amp  is basic and very common in professional grade tools. This will make sure you can cut through a variety of materials with minimal trouble. I do not recommend going for saws that have any less than 5 amps for cordless options. On the other hand, don’t go for anything less than a 7 amp corded model.
A brushless motor is also more efficient and has a quieter operation compared to conventional motors. Plus, a brushless motor is also low maintenance.
Corded or Cordless Reciprocating Saw?
Now, I’ll delve into the comparison between cordless reciprocating saws and their corded counterparts to help you determine which power source best suits your needs.
Other than giving you more range of motion, a cordless reciprocating saw is also more portable. However, due to having a larger battery in some models to store more juice and extend battery life, a cordless reciprocating saw can be heavier than one with a corded power source.
A corded saw can usually generate more power than its cordless counterpart due to having access to a power source. If you have it plugged in, you could potentially cut wood or perform construction jobs for long work hours without having to stop. A cordless model tends to have less power for standard reciprocating saw blades and can’t cut through as many tough materials, but they’re great for light projects and overhead. There are some models with a fast charger, though.
So, which power source would I recommend? One of the best things about cordless saws is they are better than corded options for tight spaces and those who work in more than one job site. If there are no electrical outlets in your work environment, then we also strongly recommend a cordless option with a long battery life.
In my experience, when power isn’t an issue for the job, a corded saw delivers ample power to the blades, enabling you to cut through various materials, including metal and plastic. Corded models are my go-to choice for heavy-duty tasks. Just a word of caution: be mindful of the cord to avoid any accidents. If you need more reach, you can always use a longer extension cord to extend your working range.
Although these tools cannot perform plunge cuts, some reciprocating saws can come with a variety of different blades suited for different cutting jobs. Even if your model doesn’t, it should be able to accommodate blade switches, in case you perform different jobs such as cutting pipes, pruning tree branches, home improvement, or demolition work.
There are blades better for cutting wood, while other reciprocating saw blades are ideal for metal or fiberglass. A metal cutting blade is tougher than a wood cutting one, and it will cut through materials such as nails, pipes, nail-embedded wood, and metal conduits. However, you might not need metal blades if you don’t work on this material. Consider what you cut at work to decide on the which reciprocating saw blade you need and how many to get. If you work both on a demolition project and a home project, you can purchase a kit of blades to complete your arsenal.
I will say that an orbital action blade is much more sought after than the traditional back and forth movement. An orbital action blade will not only move horizontally. When in orbital mode, the blade moves in a slightly elliptical motion that will help you slice through construction materials and perform precision cuts and flush cuts with even less force required.
Always choose high quality reciprocating saw blades. The right blade will last longer, be more effective and also won’t snag and stick as much during work time.
In my experience, when it comes to ensuring comfort while using a saw, especially in cases with noticeable vibration, I always look at the handles. It’s essential to have handles with a rubber or soft grip that molds to the shape of your hand. This design makes handling much more comfortable and reduces strain on your wrists and elbows, regardless of whether you’re using a two-handed or one-handed model.
You can also find some recip saws with vibration control, that will also take strain off of your limbs and reduce vibration. For extended use, such as in a demolition project, this nifty feature is necessary to give you more balance, accuracy, and vibration control as well.
How portable your power tool is depends on the weight. If you have a 11 amp or 12 amp, your saw will likely be heavier. It’s unfortunate that the weight of full-size models will affect the convenience of the saw, so our experts suggest looking for a compact reciprocating saw that is as lightweight as possible. Of course, cordless options and one-handed reciprocating saws are lighter and will make your saw more portable, but as a rule of thumb, I suggests only considering compact reciprocating saws that are under 7 pounds.
The battery longevity also has a lot to do with the portability of your reciprocating saw. The best is to look for battery powered saws that can work for at least an hour before charging is necessary. You will find ones that can operate between 20-60 minutes, so look for more powerful batteries of at least an 18 volt power rating.
Blades that stick can be very dangerous during cutting, so you want to reduce snagging. The snagging during wood cutting can be reduced by a blade brake. A dust blower and an LED light will also come in handy to keep your workspace clean and to guide your blade.
It’s very dangerous to make a cut without seeing where you’re going, and in darker lighting conditions, a bright LED work light can illuminate the way to reduce accidents in the construction industry. Many options like the Makita XRJ05T, RYOBI ONE+, and the Bosch GSA18V-083B all have on-board LED lights.
Many reciprocating saws are sold as a tool alone, without any extra accessories or special features, such as the Dewalt model. However, manufacturers will sometimes provide the option to purchase a package with everything you need such as extra blades, one or two batteries, a battery charger, and a carrying case. From what I gather, purchasing the entire kit is a smarter way to go about it because you often end up spending less.
Not to mention, all the accessories included are specially made for your saw so you won’t have to worry about cutting capacity, compatibility and more.
Price and Warranty
This reciprocating power tool isn’t very costly compared to full-sized table saws, so the price shouldn’t set you back too much. However, I have endeavored to search for and include different saw options and compact models coming in at different prices to help you find the right tool for you.
We have also included a pricier option, the Milwaukee Super Sawzall that is just over a couple hundred in case you want some extra features like a rafter hook, durable blade clamp and LED light. Spending more money doesn’t always get you a more heavy duty tool, in the end you have to look at the individual features such as cutting efficiency, top speeds, durability, and high quality blades.
Be ready to spend a little more for extra features and more accessories. Having a dust blower, for example, can cost you a bit more but the end result is a shorter cleanup, a neater workspace, and of course, more visibility when using equipment.
The warranty is another essential aspect when picking most tools. For saws and tools that are geared towards heavy use, there is also a higher chance for wear and tear. Therefore, you want your investment to be protected for as long as possible. Most products come with a basic 1-year warranty, but if you can find ones that are longer than that such as the Dewalt that comes with a 3-year warranty, then that’s your best bet. Warranties can also reflect the product’s reliability, durability, and performance, since longer warranties mean that the company is confident in their product.
How to Use a Reciprocating Saw?
Now that you know how to pick a reciprocating saw, the next question is how to use this equipment for the best cut? No matter what blade you use, the material you decide to cut, the motor amp, and whether you’re using cordless or corded ones, the operation is the same for reciprocating saws.
Start by turning the saw on and allow it to reach max SPM or strokes per minute after a few seconds. When you hear the steady hum of the motor, then you’re ready to start cutting. Utilize the variable speed trigger to adjust the speed. Otherwise, just press the shoe against the material and start working the blade through wood, metal, or other projects you’re working on.
If you have an orbital cutting blade, then this is when you will feel the difference between this tool and one that has a simple vertical or horizontal cutting design.
Who makes the best cordless reciprocating saw?
Worx makes the best cordless reciprocating saw. More specifically, the WX550L model. The WX550L is a 2-in-1 design that also features a jigsaw that can be switched out with the simple press of a button. The Worx WX550L is incredibly lightweight and easy to maneuver.
What is the best corded reciprocating saw?
The best corded reciprocating saw is the Dewalt corded model. It’s affordable with a 12 amp motor and a variable trigger for speed control for 2900 strokes per minute. The saw is excellent for heavy duty jobs and blade changes are easy, thanks to the keyless lever action design.
What is the difference between Sawzall and reciprocating saw?
A Sawzall is a reciprocating saw. Sawzall is the name for reciprocating saws from the Milwaukee company, and has become a blanket term for all reciprocating saws due to its popularity. This concept is similar to people using the term Bandaid for bandages and Kleenex to describe all tissues.
My Top Pick For a Reciprocating Saw: Dewalt DCS380B
My ultimate choice for the best reciprocating saw in the market today is the Dewalt 20V Max. This handy tool has a ton of capabilities and is cordless for convenience. The saw is incredibly lightweight and compact, making it the right choice for portability. The longer stroke length, excellent battery, and top speed on this model will allow users to get the job done in half the time, whether it’s cutting wood, metal, plastic, or other materials.
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