Reciprocating saws, sometimes called sawzall saws, are a great addition to any DIY enthusiast’s arsenal. They can replace a selection of other tools, freeing up space and making your work easier and more efficient. Reciprocating saws can cut their way through everything from drywall to wood, PVC, and even metal.
With so many applications, there’s a lot resting on these tools, so choosing the right one for your needs is essential. That’s why we’ve put together this handy buying guide, running through the best reciprocating saws on the market right now. You can rest assured you’ll get the most out of whichever option you choose.
The Best Reciprocating Saw
The first reciprocating saw on our list comes from a well-known name in the world of DIY. This DeWalt 20v sawzall has an adjustable stroke length from 1/8 of an inch to 1 inch, and it produces up to 3,000 rpm for quick, efficient cutting. The cordless design makes it safe and convenient to use without compromising on power.
The saw also features a four-position blade clamp, making for great versatility and flush cutting. The blades are easy to change, thanks to a lever-action keyless clamp. It’s also easy and comfortable to use, thanks to an anti-slip comfort grip. The tool is backed by a three-year limited warranty, so you can rest assured the company puts faith in its products.
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- Cordless reciprocating saw by well-known manufacturer, DEWALT
- Adjustable stroke length
- Variable speed, up to 3,000 rpm
- Quick, efficient cutting
- Powered by an 18 volt battery (not included)
- Four position blade clamp
- Great versatility and flush cutting
- Easy release blade, with lever-action keyless clamp
- Comfortable to use with rubber easy-grip handle
- Backed by a three year limited warranty
- Brand DEWALT
- Model DC385B
- Weight 4.98 pounds
Milwaukee brings its expertise to the reciprocating saw arena with this corded tool. The powerful saw can run at up to 3,000 strokes per minute, allowing it to make quick work of almost any material.
The quick-lock technology makes inserting and removing blades a breeze, using a latch on the side of the tool. It’s also comfortable to use thanks to an internal counterweight that helps reduce vibrations during use. This handy feature also helps to improve your cutting accuracy, while a clutch inside the saw protects its gears and increases the lifetime of the tool. The saw also comes with its own storage case for easy transportation and protection.
- Corded variable speed reciprocating saw
- Up to 3,000 strokes per minute
- Quick lock technology makes inserting and removing blades easy
- Comfortable to use, thanks to vibration reduction
- Great cutting accuracy
- Interior clutch protects the saw’s gears
- Handy storage case included
- Brand Milwaukee
- Model 6519-31
- Weight 12 pounds
The next cordless reciprocating saw to make our list is this WORX two in one reciprocating saw and jigsaw. The design features a pivoting head that converts between these two functions in a matter of seconds. WORX’s design places the motor on the side of the saw, preventing slippage and misalignment, in turn producing smooth, constant power for more efficient cutting.
The saw is compatible with any standard reciprocating saw or t-shank jigsaw blade. A built-in blower keeps dust away from the mechanism and your work station, making it easier to see exactly what you’re cutting. The saw is available with or without the required 20 Volt battery and charger. At just over four pounds, it’s also compact and lightweight enough for hassle-free use and transportation. Users say that it’s comfortable to use and very precise, making it a sound investment for a whole host of DIY purposes.
- Cordless two-in-one reciprocating saw and jigsaw
- Pivoting head converts between functions in a matter of seconds
- Motor placed on the side of the saw, preventing slippage and misalignment
- Smooth, consistent power for efficient cutting
- Compatible with any any standard reciprocating saw or t-shank jigsaw blade
- Built-in blower keeps dust out of the way
- Available with or without a battery and charger
- Brand Worx
- Model WX550L
- Weight 4.6 pounds
DEWALT have earned themselves a second spot on our list with their Max XR model. At only four pounds, it’s one of the lightest options on the market right now. The cordless design features a variable speed trigger, and can run at up to 2,900 strokes per minute.
The four-position blade clamp makes for a quick and easy blade changes, while a pivoting shoe allows you to saw with accuracy. A bright LED light installed in the saw helps you see exactly what you’re doing, for accurate cutting. The saw also comes with a three year limited warranty, so you can rest assured that it’s built to last. Customers found that the portable saw was powerful enough to tackle a wide variety of DIY and gardening needs.
- Cordless reciprocating saw
- Lightweight design weighs in at only five pounds
- Variable speed trigger
- Cuts at speeds of up to 2,900 strokes per minute
- Four-position blade clamp makes changing the blades quick and easy
- Pivoting shoe increases cutting accuracy
- Bright LED light included
- Includes a three year limited warranty
- Highly portable and powerful enough to tackle any DIY or gardening needs
- Brand DEWALT
- Model DCS367B
- Weight 5 pounds
This compact but strong reciprocating saw is perfect for all your household’s DIY needs. The powerful motor is capable of running the blade at up to 3,100 strokes per minute. While running the saw is easy to use, thanks to its anti-vibration and shock absorbing handle. This clever system, along with an anti-slip coating, helps to ensure accurate cutting, so you can get the job done as efficiently as possible.
The saw also features an easy, tool-free mechanism for blade changes, and backwards compatibility with older batteries. Users say that it’s easy to use, and acts as a great bridge between jigsaws and chainsaws.
- Compact but strong cordless reciprocating saw
- Variable speed motor can run at up to 3,100 strokes per minute
- Shock absorbing handle makes for accurate use and prevents wrist fatigue
- Anti-slip handle
- Tool-free, easy to use mechanism for blade changes
- Brand Ryobi
- Model P514
- Weight 4 pounds
This Porter Cable reciprocating saw offers a great performance without weighing you down. Its compact design is easy to use, thanks to a grippy, rubber coated handle, and tool-free blade release for trouble-free blade changes.
Its variable speed trigger allows you to saw at up to 3,000 strokes per minute, for fast and efficient cutting. At less than 15 inches in length, the tool is perfect for reaching into tight spaces. The battery-powered, cordless design also makes it safe and easy to use without the trip hazard of electrical cables. Customers were impressed with the value for money, comfortable to use design, and impressive battery life.
- Cordless reciprocating saw
- Lightweight design
- Easy to grip thanks to rubber coated handles
- Tool-free blade release for easy exchange of blades
- Small size is great for reaching into small spaces
- Powerful motor can reach speeds of up to 3,000 strokes per minute
- Impressive battery life
- Excellent value for money
- Brand PORTER-CABLE
- Model PCC670B
- Weight 4 pounds
The next reciprocating saw is Skil’s 7.5-amp variable speed model. The saw features a powerful motor that can cut through almost anything. It’s easy to insert the right blade for the job, thanks to the tool-free changing mechanism.
The heavy-duty metal gear housing protects the inner workings from the wear and tear of daily use. The saw also has a clever counter balance system to help control vibration, making it easier to use the saw with the accuracy you need. Its pivoting foot adds extra stability, while the saw’s compact size make it perfect for use in tight spaces. Users say it’s great for just about any home or garden DIY task, especially cutting wood.
- 7.5 Amp variable speed reciprocating saw
- Powerful motor can cut through just about anything
- Tool-free blade changing mechanism
- Heavy duty metal housing protects the saw against wear and tear
- Counter balance system helps control vibration for comfortable and accurate use
- Pivoting foot adds stability
- Compact design is great for tight spaces
- Brand Skil
- Model 9206-02
- Weight 8 pounds
Another cordless sawzall that’s caught our attention is this Black and Decker reciprocating saw. Black and Decker are something of a powerhouse in the DIY world, and for good reason. Their reciprocating saw features a powerful 3,000 strokes per minute motor, housed within a surprisingly compact design.
The variable speed trigger provides excellent control, no matter what you’re cutting, while an electric brake offers additional control. It’s easy to switch out the blades, thanks to a quick-release mechanism, and an adjustable pivoting shoe makes the saw even easier to use. Black and Decker have also borne safety in mind with their design – a lock on the power switch ensures the tool isn’t turned on by mistake, and users report that it can cut through just about anything.
- Cordless variable speed reciprocating saw
- Powerful motor can run at speeds of up to 3,000 strokes per minute
- Compact, lightweight design
- Quick-release mechanism allows blades to be changed easily
- Adjustable pivoting shoe makes for excellent control
- Safety features include a lockable power switch
- Brand BLACK+DECKER
- Model BDCR20B
- Weight 3.55 pounds
This Bosch reciprocating saw is another great option. Its resilient and compact design can work in just about any tight space, making it ideal for use by plumbers and rehab professionals. The saw also allows excellent control through a variable-speed trigger, which makes easing into materials a breeze. It also utilities a long, labor-saving stroke for easy cutting – in fact, the power-to-weight ratio of the saw is the best of its class.
The saw is also very comfortable to use with an ergonomically-shaped handle and soft grip. The ‘Lock Jaw’ blade holder makes it easy to switch blades without compromising on grip. Each Bosch saw comes with a three-year warranty and two years of free battery replacement. The manufacturer is also known for its excellent customer service, so you can always reach the support you need.
- Cordless, variable speed reciprocating saw
- Resilient and compact design
- Perfect for tight spaces
- Long, labor-saving cutting strokes
- Ergonomic handle with soft grip
- ‘Lock Jaw’ blade holder makes blades easy to replace
- Three year warranty and two year free battery replacement service included
- Brand Bosch
- Model CRS180B
- Weight 7 pounds
Last, but not least, is Makita’s 9 amp reciprocating saw. The variable speed trigger makes it easy to cut through almost any material, while the trigger’s large size means that using it is comfortable and intuitive. The powerful motor runs at up to 2,800 strokes per minute, and a built-in dust blower keeps your work area – and your view – clear.
Switching blades is easy, thanks to the saw’s tool-free changing system, and a soft-grip ergonomic handle makes for comfortable use. The tool also comes with its own case, keeping it in tip top condition for years to come.
- Corded variable speed reciprocating saw
- Large trigger for comfortable use
- Powerful motor runs at up to 2,800 strokes per minute
- Built-in bust blower keeps work surface visible
- Switching blades is easy, thanks to a tool-free changing system
- Soft-grip ergonomic handle
- Storage and carrying case included
- Brand Makita
- Model JR3050T
- Weight 10 pounds
With so many great options on the market, we’re confident you’ll be able to find the right fit for your needs. We know that choosing the right option can be a challenge, so we’ve put together this handy guide to selecting and getting the most out of your saw.
Things to Consider When Buying a Reciprocating Saw
Exactly which saw is best for you will depend a lot on your individual needs, but there are a few fairly universal factors to consider:
- Cordless or Corded
One of the first factors to consider is whether to buy a saw with or without a power cable. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks, which we discuss in more detail below.
- Extra Features
The next thing to bear in mind when choosing your reciprocating saw is what features it has to make your life easier. Useful features to look out for include:
- Quick-release blade changing mechanism
- Variable speed trigger
- Pivoting foot
- Compact size
- Built-in LED light
- Anti-vibration features
- Ergonomic handle
- Stroke Length
Stroke length affects how quickly the saw cuts. Longer strokes make for more efficient cutting, so look out for a manufacturers that mention this feature.
Another factor to bear in mind when purchasing a reciprocating saw is how much power it can produce. This is usually indicated by the rpm or strokes per minute it can produce. More powerful saws are better for regular use and tougher materials. For occasional home use, the power rating matters a lot less.
As with any tool, the budget you’re working with will also play a part in your decision-making process. Reciprocating saws range in price from $100 to $300, depending on the brand and features. As a general rule of thumb, the more you invest, the better you can expect the saw to be – provided you choose a trusted brand.
Reciprocating Saw Uses
As mentioned earlier, there are a whole host of reciprocating saw uses – below are some of the most common functions this useful piece of kit can be put to:
- Cutting through stubborn nails and pills
- Replacing PVC piping in hard-to-reach areas
- Making indentations in walls for wiring installation
- Cutting tree branches
- Fitting windows
- Replacing drywall
- Removing tiles of linoleum
The possibilities are virtually endless – any cutting job that doesn’t require a neat edge is perfect for the reciprocating saw.
Corded Vs. Cordless
Deciding between a corded and cordless version is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when choosing your reciprocating saw:
- Cordless – the main advantage of this type of saw is that they’re convenient to use. Without a power cable, you can use the saw far away from power outlets, and don’t have to worry about tripping over wires. However, bear in mind that you will need to regularly recharge a battery, which you may need to purchase separately. Having a spare battery on hand is a good strategy.
- Corded – with reciprocating saws that plug directly into the mains, you’ll never have to worry about a flat battery. They also tend to be lighter because they don’t need to house a heavy battery. The main disadvantage is the power cable, which limits where you can work and poses a trip hazard. This type of saw is best for household tasks, where you’ll always find a ready power outlet.
How To Use A Reciprocating Saw?
Using a reciprocating saw is simple, and most DIY enthusiasts will have no trouble getting to grips with one:
- Select your Blade – most blades are designed for specific materials, while others are multi-purpose. Be sure to select a blade that the manufacturer has approved for the material you plan to use it on.
- Insert the Blade – ensure the saw is unplugged, or the battery removed, before inserting the blade into the chuck and securing it in place. Exactly how this is done depends upon the make and model – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use the Variable Speed while cutting – you’ll get to know which speeds work best for which functions over time. The speed is usually controlled by how much pressure you put on the trigger.
- Utilise the Shoe – the shoe is an important part of any saw; you can adjust its position to alter the stroke length for different jobs, and it also acts to stabilize the tool during use by minimising vibration. Overall, taking advantage of a reciprocating saw’s shoe can significantly improve your accuracy.
- Be cautious with thicker Materials – when cutting thicker materials, rock the saw up and down slightly to guarantee even cutting. If the saw is struggling with thinner material, this is likely a sign that the blade has dulled and is due for replacement.
Best Reciprocating Saw FAQ:
Q: What is the difference between a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw?
A: Jigsaws are actually a type of reciprocating saw, but there are several key differences between jigsaws and the type of reciprocating saws on our list:
Jigsaws are designed for use on level surfaces – the blade cuts down into the material. They’re great for making neat, intricate cuts, and are especially useful for shaping ceramic and tiles. Unlike other reciprocating saws, however, they can’t be used for flush cuts, and you’ll struggle to manoeuvre the saw in tight spaces.
- Reciprocating Saws
Reciprocating saws are handheld, and can be used on uneven surfaces at all angles. The blade cuts outwards, rather than downwards, and can be used on flush surfaces and small spaces.
Q: Are reciprocating saw blades universal?
A: Yes – for the convenience of DIY enthusiasts everywhere, all reciprocating saw blades are made to a universal shank. This standardization makes it easy to buy replacement blades.
Q: What type of cuts can you make with a reciprocating saw?
A: Reciprocating saws are best for performing rough cuts, but the area where they really shine is in making flush cuts.
Because of their blade position and compact design, they’re easy to move around in tight spaces – making them ideal for tasks such as fitting windows and doors.
Q: What sort of maintenance and upkeep is required with a reciprocating saw?
A: As with any tool, the better you look after it, the longer it will last. Luckily, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to keep your saw in tip top condition for years to come:
- Use the Correct Blade
Using the right blade for the right function may well be the single best thing you can do to keep your saw functioning as it should. With the optimal blade, you know that the saw is functioning as efficiently as possible, so not being overworked. Luckily, choosing the right blade for the job is a pretty simple affair:
- Fine-toothed blades are best for cutting through copper
- Coarser saw blades are right choice for cutting wood
- If you’re tackling drywall, use the coarsest blade available
- For iron, ceramic, or stone, use a toothless blade – these blades depend on a coarse grit coating for their operation
- Replace Blades Regularly
When a blade is corroded, has missing teeth, or is otherwise damaged, it’s a good idea to replace it as soon as possible. Damaged blades make your saw work less efficiently, which can exacerbate wear and tear over time.
- Routinely inspect the Saw
As with any tool, regular inspection is key. Before every use, carefully check for damage – whether to the blade, housing, or mechanism. Since these saws are electrically powered, it’s also a good idea to check for any exposed wires. If something doesn’t look right, don’t use the saw.
- Follow Safety Advice
Don’t forget about your own safety when using a reciprocating saw – be sure to:
- Work in a well-lit space
- Use eye protection, ear protection, and a dust mask
- Never operate the saw in wet conditions
- Hold the saw firmly in both hands during use
- Always turn off the saw after use and during maintenance checks
Our Top Pick
For us, the best sawzall on the market right now has to be DEWALT’s 18 Volt cordless model. The saw’s powerful motor and long stroke length make it quick and efficient at cutting everything from wood, to PVC to metal, while a four position blade clamp adds an element of versatility and makes flush cutting a breeze.
The saw also features an anti-slip, ergonomic handle, a lever-action blade replacement system, and an adjustable pivoting shoe, making it comfortable and easy to use at any angle. Backed by DEWALT’s three year warranty, the saw is built to last – it’s the perfect cutting solution for DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike.