Best Reciprocating Saw Reviews
Reciprocating saws are the tough guys in the electric power saw market. Many people refer to them as the “bad boys” when it comes to demolition or heavy construction work.
They are also useful to have for anyone who likes to do a bit of work around the home, the yard or in the garden. They are a useful general purpose electric saw that will have many uses in the home.
Contractors and professionals make regular use of these when on a site for all types of general building and demolition work
This type of saw is called reciprocating as that term means a back and forwards movement. It is the same movement that you would have if you were using a hand saw, except that it is powered by electric, so you do not have to do the manual work.
Just below we have done an extensive list of the best saws on the market right now which we will update as they change. This is based on two things, effectiveness of the saw judged by buyer ratings and of course best value for your money. Just before you look at that though, we have included a quick guide on what these saws can actually be used for.
What Are Reciprocating Saws Used For?
You can buy these in both corded and cordless types. You can also get different types of blades for them. So depending on the blade they can then be used for cutting through wood and timber, PVC, plastic, metals like steel and aluminium and various other alloys.
They are used for what would be termed in the construction trade “rough cutting.” If you are taking down an old drywall then a reciprocating saw is ideal for that. Likewise if you are chopping a few 2 x 2’s to length then this is a fast way of getting those done. They leave a pretty rough cut so should never be used for fine or accurate work.
Now that we know what they are and what they can be used for it is worthwhile having a look at the tables below where we have compared and contrasted the top ones available today. Below that tables we have included a buying guide that highlights the most important features to look for.
We have done a table for the popular corded and one for the cordless models.
Then we have done summary reviews of the best 5. After each summary we have provided a link that will take you to a more detailed review of each individual reciprocating saw.[table id=25 /]
Just below we have reviewed and rated the best cordless models that are available in the market right now. Please remember most of these come without batteries so be careful if ordering.[table id=26 /]
Here is a useful video on how to use a reciprocating saw properly. We found this one really useful.
Reciprocating Saw Buying Guide
How Much Do They Cost?
These saws cost anything between $30-125 with an average price of around $50-60. Brands like Dewalt and Bosch will be at the higher end of $75+, whereas Brands like Black & Decker and Chicago Electric will be towards the lower end of the price range at $40-50.
Most people will have to work within a budget. Much as we would all love to be able to splash out on buying the best saw available, we usually just don’t have that kind of money available. Our advice is to avoid any tool that is cheap because they just don’t work properly and they just don’t last. It might get the job done but in the long term will end up leaving you frustrated and will cost you money.
Contractors will probably go for the more expensive end of the market because they use one of these every day and they want something that gets jobs done quickly, will be durable, stand up to abuse and has a whole range of attachments and useful features. Dewalt is the most popular choice here and they have an average price of around $75-100
Our strong advice for most people doing some work around the house is this. If money is not a problem then buy a really high quality saw and it will last you for years. If your budget is tighter then buy the best one that you can afford.
If the budget will not stretch then wait until you have enough because you will regret buying a cheap saw. The motors are weak and will burn out. They have cheap plastic cases that will crack if they are dropped. The blades are usually cheap imports that strip the teeth after a few uses and that will drive you insane.
They also lack power and in our opinion are a waste of your hard earned cash. You can get a very good quality saw for around $50 so that would be our recommended price point for a saw that will work and last.
Key & Important Features
There are some “must have” features you should know about if you are buying one of these. We have listed these below in order of importance.
Corded versions will be more powerful than cordless ones powered by a battery. Unless you are working on something where you need portability then a corded one will give you more power and you do not need to worry about a battery running out. Most people will buy a corded version of this type of saw.
Cordless versions do allow you to move around easier. You do not have to worry about having a power source or extension lead. You also do not have to worry about accidentally cutting through the trailing lead. In almost all cases when these are sold they are sold as Bare Tools so they will not come with a battery. Unless you have an existing one from the Brand you select you will have to purchase a battery which certainly adds to the cost.
Current is the power which drives the saw and this is measured in Amperes. So the bigger that number is the better. These saws will range from around 5 Amps to 15 Amps. Usually the higher this is the more expensive the saw will be. The most common is around 10 Amps
Most cordless reciprocating saws will run off either an 18 volt or a 20 volt battery. Either way you would want a Lithium-Ion battery rather than a Ni-Cad version as they charge faster and hold their charge much better.
If like us you may have to use this type of saw a few hours every day, then a couple of things come into play, which make a huge difference. These saws do vibrate and they can be heavy. That can lead to hand, arm and shoulder fatigue quite quickly. For people not used to this that can actually be quite sore. If you have ever woke in the morning to aches and pains then you know what I mean.
The lighter these are the better. Now one thing we would say is that you still need a good strong motor so getting the balance of a light weight and a good motor is not that easy. Just be aware also that a corded version will always be lighter than a cordless one as there is no battery pack.
A fancy word but for these saws it is important. As I mentioned above these saws vibrate…they vibrate a lot. A saw that is well balanced and comes with some type of padded comfort grip will greatly reduce that vibration and that makes a huge difference.
Instead of your arms feeling like they are shaking to death, the addition of some sensible anti-vibration features will leave your arms in much better shape.
Stroke Length, Strokes Per Minute and Variable Speed
Two things are important here which is the actual length of the stroke, and the strokes per minute(SPM) The longer the stroke length and the faster the saw can cut will mean the quicker you can get your job done. A good stroke length will be around 1-1/8″ and a good stroke per minute rate will be 0-3000 SPM.
If you need to cut through different types of materials then variable speed is really important. If you mainly plan on cutting through wood then variable speed is not a big issue.
Quick & Easy Blade Change
For most people doing projects around the home this may not be a very important feature. For contractors or professionals it is huge. You ideally want a way of changing a blade that does not require any type of tool. Many of these use an Allen key to change the blade and that is just a huge pain in the butt. A lever action is what you want so as you can change a blade with ease.
Some of the newer reciprocating saws come with LED lighting. If you are working in areas that will have poor lighting then this is useful. If you think of basements, roof spaces and garages then typically the lighting in there could be poor. Having a built in light on your saw will certainly help. It is a nice feature to have but it wouldn’t be important for everyone.
Summary for Reciprocating Saws
Those that we have listed above are the most important features that you need to consider when it comes to buying a reciprocating saw. Please just remember that if you are only going to use these on a single project or a few times a month, you really do not need to spend much more than between $50-70.