9 Best (Top Rated) Reciprocating Saws in 2019

There are several types of saws available on the market; however, the reciprocating saw is well-known for its ability to cut through anything and has essentially become the universal demolition tool for projects ranging from drywall slicing to tree root cutting. These saws are powerful and unforgiving, making themselves ultra-valuable for contractors and professionals who require a powerful, unyielding tool to complete their work.

Best (Air)

Ingersoll Rand 429

  • Adjustable blade guide
  • Vibration reduction

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Best (Cordless)

DDEWALT DCS380B

  • Variable speed trigger
  • Pivoting adjustable shoe

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Budget Friendly

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B

  • Tool-free blade change
  • Pivoting shoe

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Even though reciprocating saws are widely recognized within the more experienced community, even those just starting out with at-home projects can benefit from the power this type of saw provides. The versatility of a reciprocating saw and its ability to manage different types of blades makes it perfect for a variety of uses and its power can be quite thrilling for a new user.

A reciprocating saw is named appropriately because it refers to how the blade moves to function – in this case, it applies a back-and-forth motion. Do you remember hand-powered hacksaws? It’s like that, only better. Instead of putting the burden of movement on you, leading to fast fatigue, the reciprocating saw initiates the movement and all you have to do is hold the power tool.

You’ll notice the appearance of a reciprocating saw is comparable to a power drill, except instead of drill bits, a blade is what protrudes from the front end. If you are looking for a saw that makes simple, powerful cuts through a variety of thick, dense materials, this is the type of saw for you.Read on to discover the different types of reciprocating saws available, what to consider prior to purchasing, some top recommendations, and answers to frequently asked questions. By the end of this article, you’ll have enough information to confidently get out there and buy your first (or second!) reciprocating saw.

5 Different Types of Reciprocating Saws

  • Air (Pneumatic) – A reciprocating air saw, also referred to as a pneumatic reciprocating saw is a tool that is powered and uses air compression to create the back-and-forth movement of the blade. Some of these types of saws have a system that reduces their vibration, which comes in handy when they are being used in auto body repair shops. The air compressor of this reciprocating saw can be powered by gas or electricity, depending on your preference. Since this type of saw lacks an electric motor, it is lightweight and easy to handle. This type of saw is multipurpose and can be used to cut through metal, steel, plastic, wood, and fiberglass. Since this saw is so easily manageable, it can even be used for work that requires precision, like fine craftwork. This is a great tool when you need to use it extensively because it remains relatively cool, it’s not heavy, and you can handle difficult work with minimal effort.
  • Corded – Corded reciprocating saws are electrically powered with cords that require an outlet. With consistent and strong torque, these types of saws are best used when completing industrial and demolition type work. These corded saws will deliver a lot more power which is useful when cutting through solid, thick materials. Corded saws will also generally be more lightweight since they don’t carry a battery pack attached to the tool. This lightweight aspect of the tool means you can work for longer periods of time with less hand and arm fatigue and can also work more easily with overhead projects. Even though corded reciprocating saws have a lot of benefits, they can also have a few downsides, primarily that the cord can get caught on other equipment and must be dragged around to create space to use it freely.
  • Cordless – Cordless reciprocating saws are powered by batteries, usually 18 or more volts. These batteries are rechargeable, and their life span can run for numerous hours. These types of reciprocating saws work perfectly on job sites where there are no power outlets to plug into, making them mobile and efficient, even when electricity is not available for use. This also means that your mobility while working on several projects is unaffected, as you do not need to unplug and plug back in as you move from one task to the next. Now, while a cordless saw allows for mobility and has an extended battery life, it will not carry as much torque as a corded saw that plugs in and maintains consistent, unyielding power. In addition, since these saws come equipped with a battery pack, you will notice that it is heavier and more difficult to maneuver, especially when working on overhead tasks.
  • Battery Powered – Battery-powered reciprocating saws are essentially like cordless saws. There is a lithium-ion battery technology that allows this reciprocating saw to last much longer than older models, which usually run on standard battery technology. Battery powered reciprocating saws will require that you charge the battery between each use, which may not be an issue for you, but if you have long projects that you need to complete within a certain time frame, this requirement to pause and charge before starting up again could become a nuisance. There is a workaround, however, and that is if you purchase an extra battery. You can always replace it while the other battery charges and keep going back and forth between the batteries to maintain your efficiency.
  • Mini (Compact) – A mini reciprocating saw is a compact version of a reciprocating saw that can complete similar projects within a smaller frame. It is powerful and cuts quickly through materials but does not have the ability to power through as well as a regular-sized saw. It is great for use in tight spaces, as its size lets you easily maneuver and reach those otherwise elusive places. This saw can be very fast and extremely efficient, depending on the type of work you need to complete. Consider your options and if a compact tool is what you are looking for, a mini reciprocating saw may just be the perfect addition to your toolbox.

7 Key Considerations when choosing the Best Reciprocating Saw

  • Size and Type of Blade – Reciprocating saws have several different blade sizes that range between four and 12 inches long. Choosing the type of blade has everything to do with the type of work you intend to complete with your reciprocating saw. Smaller blades can be very easy to handle, which means your efficiency while cutting is maximized. There are also blades made of different materials like metal, wood, or hybrid options. Again, choosing the best one for you will be dependent on the type of work you will be performing.
  • Type of Brand and Warranty Options – Brands can be important, especially those with strong reputations. If you are looking for a tool with a long lifespan, you will want to invest in a tool made by a reputable brand. You can seek out the most durable, the strongest, or the most efficient models. As you review available selections, also consider their warranty options. Some models will come with an excellent warranty that will be worth the investment. Other models may have warranties that are lacking in protection and that may affect your ultimate decision to buy.
  • Blade Strokes Per Minute – The amount of time your blade strokes per minute is directly related to how quickly and efficiently it cuts through materials. This could mean the difference between a long, drawn-out job or a job that is completed in record time. You should also consider a reciprocating saw that has variable speed settings, as fast cutting may not always be the ultimate objective. Determine the type of projects you wish to complete to be sure to select the right reciprocating saw for your needs.
  • Cutting Ability – Orbital cutting may be the best option for your reciprocating saw because it is the fastest way to cut through various materials. This type of cutting is most efficient when the shoe of the saw is stabilized on your working surface. If you will not be stabilizing the saw but rather working on overhead projects or freely holding it with only your hands, orbital cutting will not be a good option for you.
  • Battery Power or Amperage – Your reciprocating saw will be most powerful when the voltage of your battery or the amperage of your corded tool is highest. So, if you are looking to power through really difficult materials, you will want to opt for the highest voltage possible. However, if your projects are more of the do-it-yourself (DIY) type, you may not need so much power to get your projects completed.
  • Corded or Cordless? This is a big aspect of a reciprocating saw that you will need to seriously consider. Will you need to be mobile and won’t mind a little extra weight with a battery pack attached to the tool? Or will you need that extra torque with a power outlet to aid with your tool throughout the length of your projects? Again, this decision should be made after determining the type of work you will be needing to complete so you can make the best decision between a corded option and a cordless option.
  • Blade Changes – A quick blade change adapter is ideal if you are doing heavy work on the job site and one of the blades breaks or bends and you need to shift it out quickly. Most reciprocating saws will have a hex wrench clamp that holds the blade and will still allow you to replace it whenever necessary. However, if you need to work quickly and efficiently, you may want to consider the quick-change adapter to ensure your productivity.

Overall Best Reciprocating Saw in 2019

DEWALT DWE305 12 Amp Corded Reciprocating Saw

Key Features:

  • 12-amp motor
  • 0—2,900 strokes per minute
  • 1-1/8 inch stroke length
  • Variable speed trigger

Overall Best (Corded) Reciprocating Saw – This Dewalt reciprocating saw is corded with a blade clamp that allows four positions for flush cutting. The blade clamp is keyless, and the overall tool length is 17.5 inches. The 12-amp motor is designed to be used for heavy-duty jobs and the blade clamp is meant for versatile uses. The keyless lever-action blade clamp is perfect for a quick blade switch-out.

This reciprocating saw can be used on nail-embedded wood, regular wood, metal, rubber, fiberglass, and even plaster. This saw does not come with a carrying case and weighs about eight pounds. This saw does not overheat and slices through different materials with ease. It is perfect for home projects or for taking to job sites.

Pros:

  • Corded for ultimate power
  • Keyless blade clamp for quick blade changes
  • Versatile, can be used on different materials

Cons:

  • Does not come with a case

DEWALT DCS380B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only)

Key Features: 

  • Four-position blade clamp
  • 1-1/8-inch stroke length
  • Variable speed trigger
  • Pivoting adjustable shoe

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw – This Dewalt reciprocating saw has a variable speed trigger with 0-3,000 strokes per minute that is meant to create better blade control and a faster cutting speed. It is important to note that this model does not come with a blade, a battery, or a charger – each of these items is sold separately.

This saw is cordless and according to the manufacturer, it is ideal for HVAC/mechanical contractors, carpenters, framers, fire and rescue crews, and electricians. It offers efficiency and strong performance on the job site by cutting through materials at a faster pace with accuracy and control. In addition, this tool includes an LED light that can be used to illuminate work areas once the sun sets.

Pros:

  • Three-year warranty included
  • Cordless model for mobility

Cons:

  • Blade, battery, and charger sold separately

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V Max Lithium Bare Reciprocating Saw

Key Features:

  • Tool-free blade change
  • Pivoting shoe
  • 20-volt maximum initial battery voltage
  • Includes one blade

Best Budget (For the Money) Reciprocating Saw (Under 50) – This Black & Decker reciprocating saw has a pivoting shoe and variable speed trigger for ultimate control. The tool-free blade change makes it easy to switch up blades as necessary as you move through different projects and materials.

This saw is lightweight and versatile with an ease of use even a novice could handle. Although cordless, it has a powerful motor – but you’ll need to buy the battery and charger separately.

Pros:

  • Tool-free blade change
  • Powerful motor
  • Cordless model

Cons:

  • Battery and charger sold separately

SKIL 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw, Includes 2.0Ah PWRCore 20 Lithium Battery and Charger – RS582902

Key Features:

  • Includes PWRCore lithium battery and 20V charger
  • Up to 3,000 strokes per minute
  • Temperature management system to prevent overheating
  • Adjustable pivoting shoe
  • Variable speed trigger

Best Compact (Mini/Small) Reciprocating Saw – This SKIL compact reciprocating saw delivers powerful performance that can cut through most materials, including metal and fiberglass. It comes with a kit that includes the lithium battery and charger so you can get started on your work projects right away. The adjustable pivoting shoe offers extra control and encourages blade efficiency. With easy blade changes, you can move from project to project with ease.

Since different projects and materials require different speeds, you will find the variable speed trigger comes in handy. This tool is also equipped with an LED light so you can illuminate your work area if it gets too dark.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Full kit included for use right away
  • Comes with an LED light for improved visibility

Cons:

  • Not corded which limits its power

Ingersoll Rand 429 Heavy Duty Air Reciprocating Saw

Key Features:

  • Heavy-duty
  • Capable of cutting both flat and curved surfaces
  • Adjustable blade guide
  • Vibration reduction feature

Best Air (Pneumatic) Reciprocating Saw – This Ingersoll air reciprocating saw weighs about 1.32 pounds and is air-powered, making it a useful option for intricate cutting. This tool can cut curves into different types of materials, including fiberglass, plastic, sheet metal, and aluminum.

The manufacturer recommends this tool for muffler and exhaust work, sunroof installations, and body shop repair due to its reduced vibration. The blade guide is adjustable, and it manages up to 10,000 strokes per minute.

Pros:

  • Reliable and durable brand
  • Versatile for cutting flat and curved surfaces
  • Adjustable blade guide

Cons:

  • Does not include a case

4 More Top Rated Reciprocating Saws:

Milwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp Corded 3000 Strokes Per Minute Reciprocating Sawzall w/ Variable Speed Trigger

This Milwaukee corded reciprocating saw comes with quick lock technology which allows you to change out blades without tools. The vibration reduction makes its cuts more accurate while also creating a more comfortable experience for the user. The gear protecting clutch extends the life of the tool’s gears and the powerful motor reaches up to 3,000 strokes per minute. This tool also comes with a carrying case so you can protect it while moving it to the job site or while storing it in the shed.

Makita XRJ04Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Recipro Saw, Tool Only

This Makita reciprocating saw has a variable speed motor that is capable of up to 2,800 strokes per minute and has a 1-1/4-inch stroke length for quicker cuts. The tool-less blade change feature increases efficiency when installing a new blade. This tool is cordless and compact with an ergonomic design for your comfort during use.

TACKLIFE Advanced 12-Volt Max Reciprocating Saw with 1500mAh Lithium-Ion Battery, Cordless Reciprocating Saw includes Clamping Jaw, Variable Speed, Battery Indicator, 1 Hour Fast Charger – RES001

This Tacklife reciprocating saw is lightweight, meant for one-handed use. The variable speed trigger and battery indicator keep you informed of the battery’s life so you can prepare to change batteries and keep your work efficient. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack charges quickly so you can reduce waiting time between charges. The clamping jaw is a special feature of the product which makes it easy to control the cutting position and provides security for the user.

Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)

This Ryobi reciprocating saw is cordless with an anti-vibration handle to allow you to work comfortably during long jobs. It has a rubber grip that gives you good control, even during slippery situations. You can change blades quickly because no tools are required, and the variable speed trigger helps you adjust to the different jobs you perform. It is important to note that this model is sold as the tool only and does not come with batteries; those would have to be purchased separately.

Our 2019 Reciprocating Saw Guide

  • Decide if you want a corded or cordless reciprocating saw. Battery-powered reciprocating saws can be strong enough to handle many projects and their convenience is their mobility. You can work outside, away from power outlets, but you must remember that because a battery pack is attached to the tool, you may experience arm and hand fatigue more quickly, which could slow down the pace of your work. In addition, your batteries will require recharging, so you may need to purchase an extra battery to change out, so you don’t have to take breaks during charging. A corded option will deliver consistent torque and will be lighter and easier to handle, but of course you will be tied to an outlet and you’ll have to ensure safety by keeping track of the cord’s location as you move around to complete your projects.
  • Choose the size you want for your reciprocating saw. Reciprocating saws are very similar in the way they operate, slicing mercilessly through a plethora of materials, but the size of it can affect how well you are able to handle it and therefore, how efficient you are with it. You can go from a large reciprocating saw that holds a 12-inch blade to a mini reciprocating saw that can be used one-handed. Of course, if you are opting for a compact version, you will be limited on the types of projects you can complete so it is best to consider exactly what you will be needing it for and make your size selection based on that.
  • Determine what you will be using your reciprocating saw for. This is the biggest question to ask prior to getting on board with your reciprocating saw purchase. Are you a novice just beginning to explore saw options? Did you recently purchase a home and are realizing just how many projects will need to be completed around the house? Or are you a seasoned professional seeking out the best in class? Answering these questions will help you determine the length and breadth of your work, so start by asking a few simple questions to clarify what your needs are. Once you know why you are in the market for a reciprocating saw, you can narrow down which model will be best-suited to support your endeavors.
  • What type of blade clamp will you require? A standard blade clamp will allow you to change out your blades as needed but will be a slower process as it will likely require some tools to get the job done. However, a tool-less blade clamp will increase your productivity by simplifying the change-out process.
  • Determine which blade is best for your projects. The blade is crucial because each one is specially designed to slice through different types of materials. They can be different sizes and have a different set of teeth, depending on their purpose. Most reciprocating blades are angled down to some extent. When deciding on a next project, inquire further about which blade is designed for the job and make the right purchase so you can accomplish the task at hand with ease.

FAQ:

  • What’s the difference between a Sawzall and a reciprocating saw? The term “Sawzall” was coined by a Milwaukee manufacturer to refer to a reciprocating saw. However, because they trademarked the name, the term encapsulates two important features that distinguish it: 1) a proprietary “quick-lok” technology allows for fast blade swapping and 2) the branded “redlink plus” technology keeps the tool from overworking.
  • Can you use a reciprocating saw to cut tree limbs? Yes, a reciprocating saw can cut through tree branches, it has the capacity to cut through both big branches and smaller twigs. However, a pruning blade will be ideal to move efficiently because the standard blades usually do not have the correct tooth pattern to get through lumber.
  • Will a reciprocating saw cut through nails? Yes, a reciprocating saw is known for being able to cut through just about anything and with a Sawzall, you can absolutely get through wood, even when it is embedded with nails. You must remember, this type of saw is made for control and demolition and will essentially get through any material, given enough power.
  • Can you use a reciprocating saw to cut tree roots? Yes, a reciprocating saw is sufficiently robust to cut through tree roots. You will need to dig the soil out from around the tree root with a shovel to expose the tree root and be sure to use a bimetal wood and nail blade to get through the tree root.
  • Are reciprocating saw blades interchangeable? Yes, reciprocating saws are equipped with a universal shank that is set to fit all reciprocating saws. Whatever the job you are embarking on, there is a blade that will fit and be ideal to accomplish your desired results.
  • How many amps do you need for a reciprocating saw? Reciprocating saws will require between nine to 15 amps of power, depending on the type of project you need to complete. For example, a standard demolition project will use about 11 amps of power. It is all dependent upon the type of work you will be completing to determine just how much power you will require.

Conclusion

The reciprocating saw, having originated from the inventive hand-powered hacksaw is the ultimate upgrade – thanks to electricity and batteries! The versatility of the reciprocating saw helped to develop its strong reputation, as working professionals discovered this one power tool could be used with different styles of blades, depending on what type of material was being worked with.

Since these saws were designed to power through a variety of materials, their main advantage is their crude ability to destroy. If you are looking to make intricate, precise cuts to create beautiful designs, the reciprocating saw will be an awful match. However, when your task is to break down and demolish, the reciprocating saw will feel like a match made in heaven. Reciprocating saws can be used free-handedly, which offers you the versatility to work as needed, without requiring you to be connected to a working table.

Reciprocating saws were designed as a solution to working in tight spaces, for example, with the type of work many plumbers deal with. When pipe spacing is tight and they need to power through, a reciprocating saw comes in to save the day. The power tool moves the blade for you and is compact enough to cut through piping that is mere inches apart.

Overall, the versatility of the reciprocating saw makes it a great addition to your toolbox, whether you are trimming window frames, working to slice through plaster or piping, or really anything your handyman heart desires. These tools are even used in emergency services, like tearing through a vehicle that has trapped a person inside. The amount of power this tool has, and its flexible uses make it extremely valuable for users ranging from novices to experts and rescue teams.

Having better informed yourself about the types of reciprocating saws available, their potential uses, their versatility with easily changed-out blades, and their overall power, you can make the perfect buy to suit your needs and have a power tool companion that has the strength you need to get all of your projects completed with a sense of ease and satisfaction.

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