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When the time comes to make cuts on the job site, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a reciprocating saw. Whether you’re tearing pipes out of an old home, removing sheet metal from that rust bucket, or merely demoing some bulky waste, these bad boys are there to help you out. That’s right, with the right blade in place, they can cut through pretty much anything as though it were made of butter. But blades aren’t everything; the tool must be able to run that blade properly.
The good news is that there is no shortage of reciprocating saws on the market. Everyone and their mothers seem to be pumping them out like they’re going out of style. The bad news is that you need to sort through these listings to find out which one is best for you. That’s why we’ve set up this buying guide. We want to help you find out where your money is best spent and why.
The Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws
Our top pick is DeWalt’s 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw. This reciprocating saw is part of its fastest-growing tool system, which consists of more than 180 tools. That allows you to build a substantial collection of power tools that share the same battery type. That aspect alone makes it something many tradesmen are going to reach for. But on its own, it is still an excellent piece of equipment. The saw is a compact and lightweight tool that is extremely easy to handle but still chews through material better than most. It features a keyless four-position blade clamp for making quick adjustments, and the variable speed trigger offers maximum control. The performance is backed by a brushless motor that promotes efficiency and consistency.
This is not our most affordable entry, especially when you consider that the charger’s batteries are an additional expense. However, you can typically expect a higher price for any power tool made here in the USA.
Compact and lightweight design
Keyless blade clamp
Part of DeWalt’s Fastest Growing Line
- Weight5 pounds
Compact and easy to maneuver
Easy to set up and control speed
Premium price point
No batteries or charger included
Let’s take a look at one of the most cost-effective reciprocating saws you can buy without getting burned. This handy little reciprocating saw is perfect for anyone who needs a backup or a tool to rely on for intermittent use. It has some decent capabilities based on its 20-volt battery and variable speed trigger. Despite being so inexpensive, it does a decent job cutting through almost anything. It also features a tool-less blade changing system, which is always a big bonus. We must mention that this is a “tool-only” listing, but even when you factor in the additional cost of batteries and a charger, it costs much less than any premium offering.
For the money, this tool is hard to beat. But you can’t expect it to stand up against higher-tier options. It should also be noted that this thing vibrates a lot, causing severe discomfort for some users.
Variable speed control
Toolless blade system
- Weight3.9 pounds
Easy to set up
No batteries included
Poor vibration absorption
Makita makes its first entry to our list, and it happens to be the first full kit in our guide as well. This means the saw comes with a battery charger, two extra batteries, and a storage bag. Of course, you can always buy the saw only if that works better. The reciprocating saw is one of more than 275 tools that use Makita’s LXT line of batteries as well, which means it has excellent compatibility with an entire collection you may need to assemble. Performance is exceptional, but the saw has a few things that truly enhance the user experience. For one, it is designed to mitigate blade deflection and vibration. Two, it requires no tools for blade attachment. And finally, it even has an LED to help you see what you’re cutting in tight spaces.
That price is something that’s going to scare a lot of people away. However, it isn’t something you should just write off as too expensive. This is a professional-level tool, and you will want to consider it if you use reciprocating saws regularly.
Reciprocating saw kit
Toolless blade change
- Weight19.84 pounds
Easy to use and set up
Comes with batteries/charger
Premium price tag
Let’s take a look at one of Makita’s more affordable offerings. We’ll admit that we are cheating a little because this is a “tool-only” listing, but even when selecting the kit, it’s a bit more affordable than our previous entry. This particular saw has fewer bells and whistles than the last, but it still offers superior performance. You can easily rely on this tool daily as it is just as quick as cutting through materials as it is reliable. Its 1.25-inch blade stroke is to thank for its enhanced cutting abilities. There is no LED light built into the tool, but it still features the toolless blade attachment. That makes it very easy to set up, no matter where you are.
There isn’t much to not like about this saw. The only thing worth noting is that when you purchase the battery and battery charger, the price more than doubles.
Long saw stroke
Toolless blade change
- Weight8 pounds
Makes cuts quickly
Easy to set up
No batteries or charger included
Necessary equipment doubles price
Milwaukee’s first entry to our list is a unique one. But before you write it off, consider all this that this design has to offer. Milwaukee calls this its Hackzall, and it blends the cutting power of a reciprocating saw with the maneuverability of a small hacksaw. This combination of characteristics makes it extremely easy to deal with anything that needs cutting in tight spaces. Better yet, as part of its FUEL line, you’re getting your hands on unmatched power and reliability. The saw uses a brushless motor for improved performance and efficiency, and you can easily use it in one hand. One thing you will love is that the blade cycle features no elliptical motion for increased control. Despite being so small, the blade also has a 7/8-inch stroke to ensure it can make quick work of anything in its patch.
Being compact, most will view this as a specialty tool and not as their primary reciprocating saw. However, this does depend on your line of work and the settings you must create cuts in.
Long stroke compared to size
- Weight4.55 pounds
Easy to use in tight spaces
Creates cuts quickly
Part of the FUEL line
Serves more as a specialty tool
If you can’t afford to purchase multiple reciprocating saws but need the flexibility to work in any space, this is the saw for you. This entry is unique because it features a pivoting head that allows you to quickly adjust the blade’s position. You can use it in a standard configuration for regular cutting but can reposition the head for use in tight spaces as you need to. With the blade in the proper position, this product functions as a cordless jigsaw as well. Despite this function, it retains a lightweight and compact design that’s extremely easy to use. Another thing to love is that it is compatible with any standard blade, which allows you to get the most out of it. It also uses a 20v battery that is compatible with any other Worx tool that uses it.
The design is excellent on paper and functions great in many cases. However, when used as a jigsaw on hard materials, you’re likely to achieve a jagged cut because of improper blade stabilization.
Compact lightweight design
Unique pivoting function
- Weight4.2 pounds
Easy to set up and handle
Can be used as jigsaw
Poor blade stabilization
Alright, it’s time to break out the big guns. Milwaukee is an industry favorite because it can develop tools based on feedback they receive from the consumers. This reciprocating saw is an excellent example of that. It is a cordless option that offers better performance and reliability that a corded option can. That means you don’t have to deal with hulky extension cords to get that extra bite you need for the job at hand. Its 3,000 SPM function is to thank for its ability to rip right through anything. This model offers a built-in LED to illuminate tight spaces and even has a unique grip design to provide maximum control and comfort. We also love the implementation of a hanging hook that allows you to temporarily store it as you work.
For whatever reason, this otherwise excellent entry uses plastic for the blade changing mechanism. If particular care is taken, you won’t notice any issues, but it is much easier to break than metal.
3,000 SPM blade speed
Unique grip design
- Model 2720-20
- Weight7.55 pounds
Easy to use
Fast cutting speeds
Can be hung between uses
Flimsy blade changing mechanism
There are times where even the best compact reciprocating saw is too big to use in tight spaces. Well, at least there was. This tiny saw is the answer to many issues tradesmen face all over the world. It is small, making it easy to hold and operate in a single hand. The design makes it extremely easy to make cuts to boards, pipes, and other materials that live in extremely tight spaces. It even has a built-in LED light to allow you to work in these spaces with no risk of cutting anything you don’t intend to. Despite being as small as it is, this saw creates 3,000 strokes per minute. Under load, it is less, but it still has surprising cutting abilities. Another thing to love is how slim the battery is. It works as an extension of the handle, making it even easier to handle.
As you can expect, battery life is short on this saw, and you’ll only be able to perform a few quick tasks before you need to recharge it. Still, that’s perfectly fine for something that will see little use.
Extremely lightweight and compact
3,000 SPM blade speed
- Brand Bosch
- Weight2.3 pounds
Easy to use in tight spaces
Cuts exceptionally quick
Short battery life
Let’s talk about another affordable option. There are plenty of low-dollar reciprocating saws on the market, but you’re better off sticking to names with a long-standing reputation than those that pop up overnight. Porter-Cable is known for producing respectable tools and listing them for lower price points. This particular saw uses a 20-volt battery, can deliver speeds up to 3,000 SPM, and even features a tool-free release for the blades. It’s also worth mentioning that this is a compact model that is extremely easy to handle, regardless of the setting. Handling is also enhanced with the use of a variable speed trigger and contoured overmold on the grip. It also features a pivoting shoe to help you keep the tool flush with whatever it is cutting at all times.
The only two things you might hate about this tool are the vibrations and sounds it produces. While it’s not the worst in, either way, the combination of the two can create a poor user experience.
Compact and lightweight
3,000 SPM blade speed
Designed for easy handling
Easy to use in any setting
Affordable price point
Creates cuts quickly
Our final entry to the list is another excellent option offered by Bosch. This brand may not be as “hot” as many others, but they still manufacture some of the market’s best power tools. This particular saw is an excellent option to consider because of its exceptional performance and ergonomic design. One thing that truly separates it from the others is its two-speed ranges. You can select a mode that runs up to 2,700 SPM to create cuts more quickly or 2,400 SPM to chew through more rigid materials. Variable speed control compliments this function by allowing you to enter into any material with no harsh vibration or kickback. It is also another compact model that is as easy to handle during operation as it is to carry to any project.
This is a bare tool, so no batteries are included. Another thing to consider is that battery life from Bosh tools isn’t the best, so you’ll need to invest in spares for extended projects.
Two speed settings
- Weight6.35 pounds
Speed settings provide optimal performance
Compact and easy to handle
Variable speed control for enhanced control
No batteries included
Short battery life
Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws Buying Guide & FAQ
OK, so if you can make your selection based on our suggestions, you’re good to go. But if you’re still not sure, you should keep reading. We’re going to run through the details of what you should be looking for and why. It’s important to understand that personal preference and existing tool collections play a significant role in what many folks prefer. And you can’t forget how important your budget is to the decision-making process as well. Still, there are many other things to keep in mind when shopping for any power tool, especially when it’s something that can pose the potential risks that a saw can.
The Advantages of Owning a Cordless Reciprocating Saw
There are several reasons to consider purchasing a cordless reciprocating saw. We’ll start by talking about why cordless saws are better than corded saws because you can operate them virtually anywhere. You don’t need to hassle with extension cords, nor do you pose the risk of accidentally cutting the cable as you work. If you prefer a corded version, we suggest you give our review of the best reciprocating saws a read.
Speaking of batteries, you can select a model that shares battery with existing tools and save yourself some money. It can also open doors to building a collection around the new saw you just purchased. This aspect allows you to produce a level of proficiency that can significantly enhance your working process.
All reciprocating saws share the benefit of chewing through materials much more quickly than hand saws and many other power tools. You can also change the blades relatively quickly to take on various materials. Reciprocating saws are also much easier to use in tight spaces than other devices, especially those that feature a compact design.
- Make cuts more quickly
- Share batteries with other existing tools
- Ability to change blades quickly
- Easier to use in tight spaces
Types of Cordless Reciprocating Saws
As you shop, you’ll be presented with a few different kinds of reciprocating saws. Luckily, modern technology makes it possible to switch between the types with little impact on performance in most instances. However, the different types do offer distinct advantages you may need to take into consideration. Otherwise, you can wind up with a tool you only use on rare occasions.
A standard reciprocating saw is your primary offering. This is a full-sized model that generally offers the best performance characteristics. Because it is larger, more components can be used to enhance the user experience as well.
In most cases, the most powerful motors are featured on these models, and they will be able to cut through more materials effectively. They also typically feature designs that produce far less vibration, and the weight also helps keep the tool more stable during operation.
These are the best choice for those who take on jobs where slightly more power is necessary or desirable. However, they often fall short when it comes to using them in tight or awkward spaces. They are far more massive than the other types, and their size makes them difficult to control in many cases.
Most manufacturers are beginning to make their reciprocating saws more compact on account of technological advances. It’s possible to build superior motors with a smaller footprint, and therefore they do not need to create a massive tool to produce more power.
The advantage of having a smaller reciprocating saw is that you can use it easily in any space. They are lightweight and small, so you can comfortably hold them in any position you need to. They are also light enough to easily carry with a variety of other tools.
In many instances, an excellent compact reciprocating saw will have a higher price point than a traditional model.
Even a compact model has limitations in terms of the spaces it can be used in. Working under sinks, behind walls, or even in a car are all times where you may not have enough space to operate a compact model safely.
A subcompact model takes things a step further by allowing you to use a reciprocating saw in just one hand. They have tiny batteries and typically feature a blade that sits at an angle to improve the ability to work in tight spaces.
Because they are such a small performance does take a hit. These designs typically produce much slower blade speeds and will have a tough time cutting through hard materials. And they may also use batteries that have a much shorter battery life than standard and compact models.
The Most Important Features of Cordless Reciprocating Saws
Reciprocating saws can come with various features, and they can easily distract you from what is truly important. Before buying into the benefits of a built-in LED light or swiveling head, you should look at some other design features. Otherwise, you are likely to end up with a tool the performs poorly or in a manner, you have not anticipated.
The size of the saw is the most important thing to consider. How big or how small it is can determine when and how you can use the tool. You should balance sizing with how you intend to use the tool.
It’s hard for general work to replace a traditional model because of the affordable pricing and enhanced stability. If you know you’ll be in relatively open spaces or working on a benchtop, a larger saw is worth considering. Laborers who work inside homes or tight areas will want a compact version.
A subcompact is ideal if you are regularly finding yourself in exceptionally tight areas. This likely isn’t typical for most, so it can be considered a specialty tool.
An ergonomic design is an essential aspect because it can determine how comfortable the tool is to use. It also helps enhance proficiency by doing away with any awkward motions or procedures. Small changes to trigger placement and blade positioning can have a significant impact on overall productivity.
Be mindful of how the tool feels in various positions as well. There will be many cases where you are forced to use it at a low or elevated angle. In these instances, it may be hard to use the trigger or to grip the tool effectively. There are many designs with this issue in mind and have a layout to accommodate it.
Good Speed Rating
As you read through the specs, try to get details on how fast the blade will move. Blade speed contributes to how well the tool will create cuts and can determine how the saw will perform for what you are using it for.
Higher blade speeds are typically desirable but bear in mind that it may not have the power to operate at those speeds under load. For example, the blade may reciprocate at high rates when it’s not in contact with anything but slow way down as you begin to cut. The harder the material is, the slower the blade will run, and you should reference the reviews to see how significant these issues are.
Care and Maintenance for Cordless Reciprocating Saws
Unfortunately, reciprocating saws see a ton of abuse. After all, they are designed for chewing through materials as a beaver does through trees. Manufacturers understand this and build them to be as tough as possible to ensure you’ll get years of use out of it. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you should be doing to take care of it.
Caring for a reciprocating saw takes a little common sense and mindfulness of its construction. You should never store the tool where it will be subjected to excess water or moisture. Otherwise, you can damage the internal components. You should also regularly inspect and clean the tool to ensure everything is in good working order, especially after particularly messy jobs.
To make sure you get the most out of your saw, you should also always make sure the batteries are fully charged and that your blades are sharp. Otherwise, performance can lag, and you may even cause damage to it.
- Keep batteries charged to preserve performance
- Store in dry spaces to prevent electrical failure
- Always use sharp blades to avoid injury or damage
- Clean regularly to prevent damaging internal components
- Never store with blades attached
The Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws FAQ:
Here we will visit some of the most asked questions regarding reciprocating saws. We have covered a lot here, and it can be easy to forget some of the details. So, while these may seem like silly questions, they are an excellent opportunity to recap information and help you decide on what saw you need to add to your collection.
Q. Is a reciprocating saw a better alternative for sawing?
A. Reciprocating saws are perfect for making rough cuts quickly. They lack the precision necessary for fine details but cut down on time spent using hand saws, which can be ideal.
Q. How many amps do you need for a reciprocating saw?
A. 9-15 amps are necessary to run a corded reciprocating saw. But if you are running a cordless model, you don’t need to worry about this.
Q. Should I buy a corded or cordless reciprocating saw?
A. If your budget allows, it’s worth investing in a cordless model. While batteries are an additional expense, it eliminates the need to hassle with power sources and extension cords.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick goes to the DeWalt DCS367B 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw, which may be a surprise considering some of the other entries on our list. The fact that it’s part of DeWalt’s fastest-growing tool line is why we think it is a better investment for the average person. Surely, Milwaukee and Makita are heavy hitters that also offer great tool lines, but they are also a bit more expensive. The DeWalt is a bit more attainable and still provides excellent performance. Plus, it has a ton of features that enhance the user’s experience.
If you enjoyed this and are looking for more pointers, we highly recommend visiting our other reviews, such as our Power Tools buying guide!
Reciprocating Saw - Wikipedia