Last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 10:32 am
When it comes to making quick cuts through construction materials like wood, metal and plastic, which does not require a high degree of precision or accuracy, a reciprocating saw is just the right tool for the job.
However, with a reciprocating saw, it’s not all about how accurate the cut is. It’s just all about making the cut happen as quickly as possible through whatever kind of material that needs to be cut, and wherever the cut needs to be made.
In the earlier times, cuts made during construction projects are carried out with manually powered handsaws, by pushing and pulling the handsaw to and fro with your hand through the material being cut.
This is not only labor intensive but also time wasting, as cutting through hard materials like metal requires a lot of time.
The introduction of the reciprocating saw by Milwaukee changed everything. They called it, the Sawzall. You can think of it as a motorized hacksaw or handsaw.
This is because, cuts are made quickly through the to and fro motion of the blades through the material with power supplied to the blade by means of a motor.
Thanks to inventions like this, you can save your strength for other important tasks during your projects.
It’s the ultimate demolition tool. Provided you fit it with the right blade, it can cut through anything. Wood, plastic, metal, you name it.
A reciprocating saw is only as good and powerful as the blade it’s equipped with. The blade makes all the difference.
You can do some serious pruning in your garden with it when you equip it with a pruning blade.
The versatility of the tool is what makes it effective and one of the most useful tools you can ever have in your tool arsenal.
We can go on and on talking about the different things you can do with it, but that would defeat the purpose of this article.
This article contains our review of the 10 best reciprocating saws. We’ve noted down their best features and how you can choose the best one for your project.
1. Milwaukee 6538-21 Super Sawzall
This is a 15 Amp corded Milwaukee reciprocating saw. Milkwaukee calls it the Super Sawzall, and they’re not mincing words as this saw is really super.
A 15 amp reciprocating saw is nothing to joke with, because if you read our guide below, you’ll learn that the higher the amperage, the more powerful the saw is.
It’s big, it’s beastly and it’s powerful. It will cut right through anything you have on the jobsite.
The saw features a constant power technology that ensures the blade maintains a constant power during cuts to improve its performance.
Reciprocating saws as powerful as this tends to vibrate during use, that’s why this one features Milwaukee’s patented counter-balanced mechanism for reducing the vibration, ensuring that it runs smoothly while making cuts with it.
With a stroke length of 1-1/4 inches and a variable stroke speed of 0 to 2800, the Milwaukee Super Sawzall is easily one of the fastest cutting reciprocating saws you can ever get your hands on today.
2. Dewalt DWE305 Corded Reciprocating Saw
If you need a corded reciprocating saw, the Dewalt DWE305 is one of the most budget friendly and trusted option you can go for. It’s got all the features you need.
It comes equipped with a powerful 12 amp motor for heavy duty tasks.
The stroke speed is variable from 0 to 2900 SPM and it has a good stroke length of 1-1/8 inches for faster cuts.
Changing blades is very easy because you don’t need any tool to do it. It features a keyless lever-action blade clamp.
The variable speed puts you in control, allowing you to vary your speed to match the job as you cut through different materials with it.
Overall, if you need a good corded reciprocating saw from a trusted brand with all the good features any reciprocating saw can have, then this Dewalt DWE305 is the one you need.
3. Makita JR3050T Reciprocating Saw
Makita’s JR3050T corded reciprocating saw is a very versatile and user friendly saw you can use for both heavy duty jobsite projects and DIY projects at home.
Equipped with an 11 amp motor, it has all the power you need to make difficult projects look easy.
It saws fast and smooth with a variable stroke speed of 0 to 2800 SPM and a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches.
A two finger variable speed trigger allows you to control and vary the stroke speed to match the application.
Makita designed the saw so that it weighs only 7.3 lbs, making it easy to use for a long time, especially for overhead cutting operations without causing too much fatigue.
Finally, the saw comes equipped with a built in dust blower to clear the line of cut from debris and dust created during cuts, for a better line of sight and increased accuracy.
Related: The Dremel Ultra Saw Review
4. Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Cordless Sawzall Kit
Milwaukee first introduced the Sawzall or reciprocating saw as we all know, and thus it’s not surprising that they still produce some of the best ones in the market today.
It’s a cordless sawzall and it comes equipped with a brushless motor for better power, efficiency and a longer tool life.
The saw is powered by Milwaukee’s tried and trusted M18 feul batteries, the M18 REDLITHIUM XC 4.0 Extended Capacity Battery Pack.
With this battery, you get 2X more runtime and 30 percent faster cutting than other models.
The 2720-21 M18 Fuel saw features Milwaukee’s redlink plus intelligence system which optimizes the saws performance and provides overload, overheating and over-discharging protection.
It comes equipped with a bright LED light which illuminates your work when it’s getting dark. It has a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches and a stroke speed range of 0-3000, which is good for quickly cutting through materials.
Related: 10 Best Compound Miter Saws Of 2020
5. SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Buzzkill Reciprocating Saw
One feature you should look for when getting a reciprocating saw is vibration control, and with SKILSAW’s patented Buzzkill tech included in the SPT44A-00, you get one with the best in class in-line vibration suppression.
The Skilsaw Buzzkill comes equipped with a 13 amp motor which produces a max stroke speed of 2800 SPM with a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches, allowing you to cut quickly through even the toughest materials you have at your disposal.
Equipped with a variable speed trigger, you have the ability to adjust the speed according to the material you’re cutting.
Whatever your reason for needing a reciprocating saw is, this Skilsaw SPT44A-00 is ideal for various applications.
You can use it to cut different types of materials including structural steel, cast iron, engineered wood, drywall, non-ferrous metal, plastics and heavy duty pipes.
Just remember to match the application with the right type of blade.
6. Bosch CRS180B 18-Volt Reciprocating Saw
With a tool length of 17.4 inches and a weight of 7.6 lbs, Bosch offers one of the most lightweight reciprocating saws compared to competition in its class.
The Bosch CRS180B is not just lightweight, but also comes equipped with all the important features you need to make cuts easily.
It features a 2 variable stroke speed setting of 0 to 2400 SPM and 0 to 2700 SPM, allowing the operator to use it on a wide range of applications.
With each stroke of the blade, more materials are removed because it has long stroke length of 1-1/8 inches. This allows it to cut faster, while using less power.
Swapping blades is very easy as it features a lock-jaw blade holder, which is the easiest way to change blades on any reciprocating saw.
Overall, the Bosch CRS180B definitely counts among the models you can use as a professional plumber, electrician, home remodeler or construction worker.
7. PORTER-CABLE PCC670B
Although very budget-friendly, the Porter-Cable PCC670B cordless reciprocating saw offers a compact and high performance drive train tool you can use to make difficult cuts easy both on and off the jobsite.
With a 1 inch stroke length and a variable stroke speed of 0 to 3000 SPM, the saw has everything need to handle your projects.
The tool-free blade change lever makes it very easy to swap blades and ensures there’s very little downtime while using the tool.
It also features a variable speed trigger that ensures you can dial down or increase the speed to suit the material you’re cutting.
If you’re not looking to spend much on a recip saw, then this Porter-Cable PCC680B is a high performance option you can go for.
It has all the necessary features you need such as variable speed and tool-less blade change mechanism.
8. Craftsman CMCS300B
If you want a compact, lightweight tool you can put to use for pruning trees in the garden, cutting through rods, pipes, and wood on the jobsite, then this Craftsman CMCS300B cordless 20-Volt max reciprocating saw is a great option for you.
It comes equipped with a full variable speed trigger you can use to vary the stroke speed between 0 and 3000 strokes per minute with a stroke length of 1 inch.
You don’t need a tool to change blades, as it comes fully equipped with a tool-free blade release lever to easily swap out blades.
In terms of ergonomics and comfort during use, the saw has a contoured overmolded handle to make it easy to grip and comfortable to use.
9. Dewalt DWE357 Compact Reciprocating Saw
The Dewalt DWE357 reciprocating saw is a beastly reciprocating saw cased in a very compact body.
Dewalt designed it so it can be used for different applications by simply decreasing the length, thus making it compact and easy to use in tight or close quarters.
Equipped with a 12 amp motor, the saw blade reciprocates at a speed between the ranges of 0 to 3000 strokes per minute with a stroke length of 1-1/8 inch stroke length, making it very fast and efficient during cuts.
To control the speed, the tool features a variable speed trigger which allows you more precision while working with it.
Quick blade change is important when working with a reciprocating saw, and with this DWE357, you get a key-less lever-action blade clamp you can use to change the blade easily.
Overall, this Dewalt DWE357 is one of the best when reciprocating action saws you can get. At just a length of 14.5 inch, it’s the ideal unit you need if you want something compact for working in tight spaces.
10. Ryobi P515
If you love Ryobi ONE+ tools, then you’d be happy to add this to your collection. It’s the Ryobi P515 cordless reciprocating saw.
You can power it with most of the Ryobi batteries such as the P100, P101, P102, P103, P104 and so on, some of them you probably already have.
Unlash the front of the tool and you can simply pull out the blade. Hence, changing blades takes little to know time.
The P515 Ryobi reciprocating saw has a stroke length of 7/8 inches and a variable stroke speed from 0 to 3100 SPM.
It comes equipped with a variable speed trigger you can simply use to vary the speed by increasing or reducing the pressure of your fingers on the trigger.
An anti-vibration handle provides you comfort and ensures precision as you make cuts with the saw.
All in all, the Ryobi P515 certainly counts among the best reciprocating saws you can use for demolition, renovation, gardening and landscaping.
You can use it to cut wood, drywall, pipes, iron rods and pipes. If you need a powerful but compact model you can use for your projects, the P515 is definitely one of your best bet.
How to choose a reciprocating saw
If you’re trying to purchase a new reciprocating saw, there are few factors you need to consider before you choose anyone, especially if it’s your first time of owning one.
Read through carefully in order to make the best decision.
Corded Vs Cordless Reciprocating Saw
When choosing your first reciprocating saw, the first decision you have to make is whether you want a corded or a cordless one.
Obviously, a corded one is one with an extension cord for connecting it to a power source, while a cordless one is one that uses batteries.
The decision to choose either one of them will depend on the type of work you want to do, where you want the job done and how long you will be doing the job. Though, it will largely depend on the latter two.
A cordless reciprocating saw will allow you the freedom to get work done anywhere. It is the option you need when you don’t have access to a power outlet.
For example, in a remote jobsite where you don’t have access to electricity or even around your home, when you want to prune some trees in the garden, a cordless unit is your best bet.
Normally, when you talk about a cordless tool, most people usually associate it with less power and less run time because of limited battery power.
However, recent technological advancements in the motors used in cordless tools and batteries have leveled the playing field to some extent.
For instance, manufacturers now use brushless motors which are more energy efficient. Coupled with that, innovations in batteries such as the Dewalt Flexvolt Battery Technology has totally revolutionized how batteries integrate with tools, and made it possible to get more run time from cordless tools.
So on this note, if your work will take you where there is no electricity, don’t be afraid to invest on a cordless tool.
On the other hand, if you will have continuous access to electricity, then by all means, get a corded reciprocating saw. Then, there is no need to get a cordless one.
Motor / Power
When shopping for a cordless reciprocating saw, you’re going to come across several amp ratings on these saws.
You must note this because, it is very important. The greater the amp, the tougher the work it can do. So, you are going to see 7.5 amps, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 up to 15 amps.
For light-duty tasks around the home, you can get a 7.5 to 10 amps reciprocating saw, depending on how light-duty the task is.
Task such as pruning little trees around your home can easily be handled with a 7.5 amp model.
On the other hand, when you need to get more done and handle really tough tasks in the jobsite, then you need to start your selection from 11 amps upwards.
Like I said, the tougher the job is, the greater amps you need. So, a 15 amp reciprocating saw will pack all the muscle you need around the job site. But don’t be afraid choose the 12 and 13 amp ones either.
As for cordless reciprocating saws, the ratings that you will see on it is voltage. You’ll see 18 Volts and 20 Volts Max tools.
Now, you may think that the 20 volts tools are more powerful than the 18 volts tools.
Well, if that’s what you think, you’re wrong. When it comes to battery powered tools, they’re not. Rather, they are the same.
If you check the 20 Volts cordless tools, you’ll notice that it is labelled 20 Volts Max. That means 20 volts is just the voltage of the battery when fully charged.
When it begins to discharge, it will likely settle to 18 volts, which is the nominal voltage of the tool, making it equal with the other 18 volts tools.
So take note of this, and provided all other factors are considered, feel free to buy any cordless reciprocating saw, or any other cordless tool, whether it’s labeled 18 volts or 20 Volts Max.
Some reciprocating saws come with a variable speed trigger that allows you to control the speed or strokes per minute SPM of the saw depending on how far back you pull the trigger. While others have a variable speed dial that also allows you to vary the speed of the saw with just the turn of the dial.
Having this feature is very important because sometimes, in order for the blade to cut effectively, you need to vary the speed to match the type of material you are cutting.
Not all materials require the same speed to cut through them effectively. For instance, when cutting through metal, you want to cut with a slower speed, because it is denser and stronger. So going full throttle may break the blade or something worse. Though you may gradually increase your speed as the cut progresses.
On the other hand, when cutting through wood, you need to go fast in order to cut through quickly and effectively.
So, when choosing a reciprocating saw, it is important that you get one that allows you to adjust the speed to suit the work you have at hand.
Changing your blades is inevitable when working on your project. There are several reasons why you might need to change your reciprocating saw blade.
You may need to change it when it gets dull, or you may need to change it if you intend to cut another material that requires a different type of reciprocating saw blade.
Hence it is important that swapping the blades of your reciprocating saw is not only simple, but quick as well, to reduce tool downtime.
Most units are equipped with a tool-less blade change mechanism which consist of a simple lever by the side, which you can simply pull-up with your finger to swap out the blade. Put another blade and push it down to secure the blade firmly in position.
So, make sure the one you choose has this feature. Never purchase a reciprocating saw that requires a tool for you to change the blade.
Also, for safety reasons, always unplug the saw or remove the battery if you’re using a cordless reciprocating saw before attempting to change the blade. Always think about safety first when handling power tools. A lost finger is lost forever.
Size / Tool Length
What do Dewalt’s DC387B, Bosch’s GSA and Ridgid’s Feugo reciprocating saws have in common? They are all compact.
These reciprocating saws are smaller in size than the standard units. Hence, they are able to fit into tight spaces like in between studs, or when you’re working under a car.
With a compact one, you can access tight spaces which you can’t normally access with the large units because of their size.
Also, truth be told, you may not really need those reciprocating saws if all you need to do is do some tree pruning in your garden. A compact one like the ones I mentioned above might just be what you need.
A plumber will also find these very useful, because of the compact size, able to fit into tight spaces for cutting pipes. These compact models are not only small in size, but are also lightweight as well.
So, depending on where you want to use it for, you might consider looking at the compact ones like the Dewalt DC387B or the Bosch GSA compact reciprocating saws to know if they suit your needs.
Reciprocating saws are all about the to and fro motion of the saw blade. The mechanism inside it causing this motion causes a lot of vibration from inside as soon as you switch it on.
Because of this, some manufacturers include vibration stabilizers to help reduce this vibration.
A good example of a saw with vibration control is the SKILSAW SPT44A which is equipped with Skilsaw’s Buzkill technology to help suppress the vibration produced when during use.
Milwaukee also equipped the Milwaukee 6519-31 with an internal counterweight mechanism that helps to reduce its vibration.
A vibration controlling mechanism is not actually a necessary feature in a reciprocating saw, and no anti-vibe control will remove all the vibrations from it.
Nonetheless, the vibration control included in the saws mentioned above is important, and helps makes it a little bit more comfortable to use.
So, if you dig the vibration control feature, you might well note it down, and take it into consideration when making your choice.
Stroke Speed and Stroke Length
The speed of the reciprocating saw expressed in strokes per minute and the stroke length are two factors that directly affect how fast the saw is going to cut through a material
The stroke is not the length of the blade but how far the saw pushes the blade forward or backward after it has pushed it forward.
With all other factors being equal, a reciprocating saw with a greater stroke length will cut faster than one with a lesser stroke length. Like I said, all other factors need to be equal between the two for this to be true.
So, the greater the stroke length, the faster the saw will cut through the material.
Stroke length of reciprocating saws normally range from 1 to 1-1/4, but the most common stroke lengths you’ll come across is 1-1/8.
When it comes to compact units, you may find some with stroke length up to 1-1/8 like the Dewalt DCS387B while other compact ones may have lower stroke length.
In this case, it really does not matter because they are not really meant to have the greatest stroke length, but instead to fit into tight spaces, and they do cut fast as well as long as they have a good stroke speed.
Talking about stroke speed, it usually range from 2700 to 3000 strokes per minute (SPM). One with a stroke speed of 2900 and above is okay.
Conclusively, how fast a reciprocating saw will cut a material depends on both the stroke speed and the stroke length. Not just one of them.
So, take both of them into consideration when making your choice.
If you’re getting a cordless reciprocating saw, then the kind of battery you choose to power it will determine how much run time you get from the tool.
The most common cordless units you’ll see are the ones with 18 volts and 20 volts Max voltage ratings.
Like I mentioned earlier, the two voltage ratings are mostly the same. So, you can power them with your 20 Volts batteries.
The overall design of a reciprocating saw should also be considered. You may not have the chance to hold it before purchase, especially if you are making the purchase online like on Amazon.
However, if you’re are buying it from your local hardware store, then you should definitely hold it in your hands and get a feel of how it is.
One with a rubberized handle will definitely feel more comfortable in your hands. So, check out for features like that when purchasing online.