There’s plenty to love about reciprocating saws. This versatile tool is a formidable resource in your power tool arsenal. It cuts effortlessly through pretty much all types of materials, it reaches tight areas that other power tools can’t get to, and, most importantly, it makes quick work of demolition projects.
But given the wide range of models available, finding the best reciprocating saw can be challenging. To make the process easier, we researched countless models and have compiled a list of the top ones. We’re going to take an in-depth look at each one and then go over some practical information in our handy buyer’s guide.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Reciprocating Saws Reviewed
We’re going to kick things off with our top five picks. Here they are, in no particular order.
- Tool-less blade change
- 7/8-inch stroke length
- Adjustable speed
- Light and simple to control
- Produces no vibration
- Fantastic price
- Battery sold separately
It’d be pretty hard to go wrong with any product from BLACK+DECKER. This brand is known for delivering excellent value for money, and the BDCR20C model is no exception. It provides an impressive amount of power, reaching up to 3000 strokes per minute, without being too heavy to manage. This cordless model features two 20V batteries that give you plenty of run time, also.
Of course, we have to mention the features that allow for better control and help you complete work more efficiently, such as adjustable speed and a pivoting shoe. BLACK+DECKER also included dampening technology to make for a better cutting experience, so if you’re worried about vibration, this model could be right for you.
Overall, it’s not as powerful as some of its competitors, but if you plan to use the BDCR20C mostly for light to medium applications, it could be a great addition to your tool kit.
- Tool-less blade change
- 20V battery
- 1-1/8 stroke length
- Delivers impressive power
- Excellent price point
- Provides lots of cutting versatility
- Twelve-month warranty
- Vibration control could be improved
- You have to buy the battery separately
DeWalt is another ubiquitous name in the world of power tools, and this model is a fantastic option for professionals and hobbyists alike. Despite being cordless, it delivers intense power, reaching speeds of up to 3000 strokes per minute to make quick work of any material.
It’s got a four-position blade-fixing feature, which allows you to achieve practically any cut you can imagine. Plus, adjustable blade-length settings give you even more flexibility when it comes to getting into tight corners and cutting flush against a wall. The DCS380B also includes a pivoting adjustable shoe to provide you with accurate depth control, a much-appreciated feature.
When it comes to run time, the 20V battery can handle about thirty minutes of heavy-duty cutting. However, for lighter applications, the battery can last for hours. The saw is quite ergonomic, so it won’t cause fatigue as you’re working, though the vibration control isn’t the best available.
Despite a few negatives, this professional saw delivers excellent balance and will last a long time.
- Adjustable speed trigger
- Up to 2800 SPM
- 1-1/4-inch stroke length
- Includes a three-year warranty
- Has Star Protection Computer Controls
- Rubberized grip
- The battery does not come included
- The tool is a bit heavy
Makita is another much-loved name in the power tool world, and the XRJ04Z is no exception. It features 1-1/4-inch stroke length, which is much longer than the average Sawzall, and allows for use on more heavy-duty jobs. It’s perfect for just about anything, including shop work, home remodeling, and backyard work.
It has a tool-less blade changing system and variable speed settings that allow you to fine-tune your cutting. The power on the XRJ04Z is impressive for a cordless model, thanks to the LXT batteries it uses. The LXT batteries charge quickly and last a long time, though it’s worth mentioning that you have to purchase them separately.
Makita designed this reciprocating saw with ergonomics in mind, and the rubber grip adds comfort and reduces fatigue. You won’t have to worry about vibration either, which is practically nil. Finally, Makita is known for its Star Protection Computer Controls, which protects against overheating, over-discharge, and tool overload. This feature essentially keeps your motor and battery safe.
- Tool-less blade change
- Brushless motor
- Stroke length up to 3300 SPM
- Brushless motor
- Comes with eight blades
- Reaches very high speeds
- Excellent value
- Power cord not included
The KIMO Brushless Cordless Reciprocating Saw is a fantastic find. Its power capabilities are incredibly impressive, reaching stroke speeds of up to 3300 SPM. The device comes with a 20V 4.0 Ah battery and eight blades with several tooth patterns for all your cutting needs. And cut it does—you can hack through just about anything with little effort.
The biggest advantage of this Sawzall is that it has a brushless motor, which fights against drag and makes adjustments in speed automatically. The tradeoff is that it’s a bit noisier, but most people prefer brushless models because they change speeds easily and stay cool while cutting.
Despite the power this model has, it still retains a lightweight body that won’t cause fatigue, and it produces less vibration than similar models. KIMO has also been recognized for its cooling system, designed to actively and passively maintain the motor at the correct temperature to extend its life.
And unlike other similar models, you can power this one with either a battery or a cord, though the cord is not included.
- Speeds up to 2800 SPM
- 7/8-inch stroke length
- Tool-less blade change
- 2Ah batteries
- Has LEDs for working in low-light conditions
- Comes with two batteries
- Has power comparable to a corded saw
- None to speak of
Our final option comes from HYCHIKA. Despite being a lesser-known brand, HYCHIKA delivered on plenty of features that make this Sawzall an excellent addition to your tool kit. The impressively powerful motor reaches speeds of up to 2800 SPM, which is comparable to most corded models, and a variable speed trigger permits control over the sawing rate.
Additionally, the saw’s four-position blade clamp includes tool-less blade changes, and it allows you to cut flush against any surface. It has a rubber molded grip and body that are comfortable to hold, and this design also works to reduce vibration so you can cut as long as you need to. Plus, it has a handy LED if you need to work in the dark.
Overall, this model could be right for you if you’re looking for light, well-balanced power.
Reciprocating Saw Buyer's Guide
Now that you’re up to speed on the top models, it’s time to discuss some must-know information before purchasing. Here’s what you should keep in mind to make the best decision.
Corded vs. Cordless
Choosing between a corded and a cordless model is perhaps one of the most critical choices you have to make. There are pros and cons to each, and which one is best for you ultimately depends on how you plan to use your reciprocating saw.
Corded versions are best if you’re looking for consistent power. They’re also more convenient, as there’s no need to worry about charging your tool or changing batteries. You plug it in, and you’re ready to work. However, the biggest downside is that the cord can restrict your movement or potentially get in your way.
Cordless models, on the other hand, offer unrestricted freedom of movement. They’re excellent at job sites where power outlets may be scarce, but they can be limited when it comes to run time and power.
With advances in technology, differences between the two are narrowing. Both have advantages, so if you can, it’s great to have one of each. If not, think about how you plan to use the tool, and plan accordingly.
A reciprocating saw should have a powerful motor.
Power is expressed in amps, which tells you how well a particular reciprocating saw can handle various tasks. The typical amperage range for these tools is between five to fifteen amps. Professionals should go for somewhere around twelve, whereas DIY home users should choose something with no less than seven amps in corded models and five amps in cordless ones.
This area is one to pay close attention to, as it will influence what kinds of jobs you can do.
Strokes Per Minute
Another feature to look at is strokes per minute (SPM). A high SPM is essential, as the higher the number, the faster the saw cuts. SPM on reciprocating saws typically ranges from 2700 to 3000 SPM. We recommend choosing a model with the highest SPM possible, regardless of whether you’re a professional or plan to use it for home applications.
While it may seem like the faster, the better, it’s vital to recognize that you don’t always need aggressive speed when using a reciprocating saw. You can cut through some materials at lesser speeds, so variable speed settings are a nice feature to have. It can also help preserve battery life on a cordless model and extend the life cycle of your tool.
You’ll have to change your saw’s blade at some point, either because the blade is dull or the project you’re working on requires something different. You want to avoid spending a lot of time doing this, especially if you’re a professional.
A tool-less blade change helps you make quick work of this task. It’s a lever that you pull on that allows you to switch out the blade quickly and reduce downtime. Nowadays, there’s absolutely no reason to purchase a reciprocating saw that requires a tool to change the blade. Just make sure to unplug the saw or remove the battery before swapping it out.
While wearing eye protection and gloves is a must when operating a reciprocating saw, your tool should also include built-in safety features. You want to lessen the inherent risks of using a power tool as much as possible, and several features make them safer. The one we’d recommend is an auto-stop feature, which essentially shuts the device off in case of a malfunction.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of the reciprocating saw is another critical feature. What kind of things are you going to be doing? Are you going to be using the reciprocating saw for long periods? Will you have to do overhead work or use it on a ladder? In these cases, a smaller, lightweight version can help make this work more comfortable.
On the flip side, if you’ll mostly be doing heavy-duty sawing, a heavier saw can actually be beneficial, as it cuts down on vibration and helps reduce fatigue.
Finally, consider ergonomics. Is the design of the reciprocating saw comfortable? Can you use it for extended periods? Especially if you’re using it for professional applications, the more comfortable it is, the better. A comfortable grip with a rubber handle often provides the best ergonomics.
We recommend going to a brick and mortar store to try the model you like, even if you ultimately purchase online, to see how it feels.
What is a reciprocating saw used for?
Reciprocating saws are mostly used for demolition work, and that is where they shine. They can rip through any material, allowing you to tear things down quickly and easily. Reciprocating saws differ significantly from circular saws or table saws, which would be considered precision-based tools.
Are reciprocating saw blades universal?
Yes, blades will fit into any standard reciprocating saw available. This feature is helpful since there are countless different blade types, each suited for a different task.
Can reciprocating saws be used to cut tree limbs?
Yes, reciprocating saws are excellent tools for cutting tree limbs. Just make sure you are using a pruning blade for the best results.