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Reciprocating saws are incredibly versatile tools. At the end of the day, every DIY hobbyist and professional tradesman should have one. These handy power saws can reach into narrow corners and slice through virtually any material like butter.
For starters, we’re going to be using the terms reciprocating saw and sawzall interchangeably, because they are basically the same thing. If you want to get technical, a sawzall is a type of reciprocating saw – it is the name of the reciprocating saw line of tools from Milwaukee.
Over the years, the terms have come to be used to refer to the same type of saw, and we’ll do the same here in this review.
We’ve put together an exhaustive buying guide to educate you on what features to look for and what to avoid so that you find the best reciprocating saw that suits your needs.
- Reciprocating Saw Reviews
- Best Reciprocating Saw: Makita JR3050T
- Best Sawzall for the Money: Porter-Cable PC75TRS
- Best Cheap Reciprocating Saw: SKIL 9206-02
- Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw: Dewalt DCS390B
- Best Heavy Duty Sawzall: Milwaukee 6519-31
- Best Cheap Cordless Sawzall: Black+Decker BDCR20B
- Honorable Mention: Dewalt DW310k
- Corded vs Cordless
- Reciprocating Saw Considerations
- Important Safety Tips For Using a Reciprocating Saw
- Wrap Up
Reciprocating Saw Reviews
Best Reciprocating Saw: Makita JR3050T
Makita JR3050T sits at the top of the list as the best reciprocating saw. This saw has everything you’ll need. It’s an 11-amp reciprocating saw that’s powerful, lightweight, and can be used on a wide range of materials including plastic, wood, metal, drywall, and plaster. Not just that, it’s powerful enough to be used even on demolition sites.
The blade speed of this saw can range from 0 to 2,800 SPM. Combine that with the 11 amp motor, and this item will be excellent for any task. At just 7.8lbs, it’s also lightweight and comfortable to hold. The blade stroke of 1-1/8” ensures a quick and smooth cut, which will relieve you of multiple passes.
One of the most amazing features of this tool is the dust blower. It does a phenomenal job at improving your precision and accuracy by clearing your view of dust and debris. The trigger is sufficient for two fingers which is always advantageous if you’re going to be working for long hours.
This reciprocating saw from Makita isn’t not only versatile but also powerful enough to use for any type of job you do.
If you’re in search of a versatile, lightweight, and powerful saw for a range of materials, we love recommending this specific reciprocating saw from Makita. It’s high quality and will be suitable for any of the demo and cutting projects you have.
What We Like:
- High quality
- Powerful enough for most work
- Easy to handle
- Clean and smooth cuts
- Can saw most materials
What We Don’t Like:
- Average blade lock quality
- Powerful 11.0 AMP motor that delivers up to 2,800 strokes per minute
- Variable speed trigger for precise cutting in a wide variety of applications
- "Tool-less" blade change and shoe adjustment for fast blade installation and removal
- Long 1-1/8" stroke for faster cutting
Best Sawzall for the Money: Porter-Cable PC75TRS
This tool from Porter Cable provides excellent value for your money. If you want a high-quality saw without breaking the bank, this might be your first choice. This light duty power tool is suitable for work around your home or even for light professional jobs.
The PC75TRS saw from Porter Cable has a voltage of 7.5 amps that should provide sufficient power for average users. As for the speed range of this item, it ranges from 0 SPM to 3,200 SPM. Similar to our first choice, this tool also possesses a 1-1/8” stroke.
When it comes to value for the money, Porter Cable has always stood out to us. For example, we love their jigsaws for the same reasons: amazing features for a very reasonable price.
This sawzall from Porter Cable has a 6 foot long cord, which should be long enough for most work. Porter Cable makes durable tools for the price, and this one is no different.
Of particular note is how easy this specific model is to operate. Removing the cover of the saw is really easy thanks to the easy twist tool feature.
Overall, this is a really great saw for the generalist who needs a reciprocating saw around their home for light projects, but wants a high quality and powerful tool. You won’t spent a fortune on this option, but you also will be getting a really great demolition saw.
What We Like:
- Corded: No need to recharge
- Excellent for casual and light work
- Powerful enough for daily work
- Variable speed trigger
- Easy Customization
What We Don’t Like:
- Tooled blade cover
- Not suitable for heavy or professional work
- Heavy-duty 7.5 Amp motor for effective cutting in a variety of applications
- Twist Lock Tool free blade change for quick and easy blade changes
- Variable-speed trigger maintains speed for multiple cutting tasks
- Pivoting shoe easily maneuvers around objects while cutting
Best Cheap Reciprocating Saw: SKIL 9206-02
SKIL 9206-02 is another top choice for an affordable and powerful saw for everyday work. If you want a good saw for your DIY home projects or just make some casual tweaks around your house, this tool should take care of most of your requirements.
The SKIL has a 7.5 amp motor, which should be sufficient for handling small to medium sized works. It might not be suitable for heavy-duty work, but for cutting soft metals, wood, fiberglass, rubber, drywall, and other similar materials, this saw makes a great choice.
One thing we love is that the Skil 9206-02 possesses a versatile speed trigger. This allows you to quickly change the speed settings depending on your requirements.
This saw is also smooth to handle and its counter-balanced design eases the vibration that your hand may experience. This is great for beginners.
Despite being affordable, this saw also has a tool-less blade change. Thanks to this feature, it’ll take you only a few seconds to change the blades whenever it’s required.
When you’re cutting more rugged and difficult materials, the pivoting foot will provide you with excellent stability. It’s a great saw which won’t cost you a fortune.
It has all the features that an average user would want. If you don’t require the saw for heavy-duty work, this is a great choice. It’s also affordable and is worth every single penny. The sturdy built of the saw will allow you to use this item for a very long time.
SKIL produces excellent, budget friendly tools for homeowners, and this sawzall is no different. We have also rated their entry level table saw as top class, and the 9606-02 reci saw is no different. If you don’t require a saw for heavy duty work, but want to save some money, this is a great choice.
What We Like:
- Very affordable
- Pivoting foot ensure strong stability
- Counterbalance minimizes vibration
What We Don’t Like:
- Doesn’t provide blades
- Not powerful enough for professional work
- Powerful 7.5 Amp Motor provides ample power to get the job done
- Tool-Less Blade Change for easy blade changes
- Heavy duty metal gear housing for added ruggedness and durability
- Counter Balance for vibration control
Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw: Dewalt DCS390B
If you’re on the lookout for a cordless sawzall, then the DCS390B from Dewalt could be a good option to consider. It provides 20 volts of power, which is quite the punch for a cord free option. And, you’ll be getting the reliable and durable brand name of Dewalt.
The DCS390B from Dewalt has a variable trigger that can go from 0 to 3000 SPM which allows you to cut not only wood but even metals effortlessly. The cutting speed of this item is further enhanced due to the stroke length of 1-1/8” which is as high as it can get for these type of saws.
You don’t have to worry even if you’re working in a place with limited clearance, as this saw contains a 4-position blade clamp which will help you out in tough-to-reach areas (which are all too common when using this type of saw).
The Dewalt DCS390B has various features that will provide you with comfort and convenience. For starters, this tool has a keyless blade change along with an adjustable shoe that will give you even more control.
Additionally, the over-molded rubber grip is extremely comfortable. When you pair this with the fact that the model is cordless, this is one of the best ergonomical reciprocating saws on our review.
The convenience of this Dewalt, combined with the powerful brand name, make it an easy selection. It’s durable, easy to control, and powerful enough for most of your cutting jobs. The 3-year warranty will also be very appealing for many buyers.
What We Like:
- 3-year warranty
- Powerful for most work
- Soft, molded grip
- Variable speed range
- No cords
What We Don’t Like:
- Doesn’t provide blades
- No battery provided
- Battery operated
- Has 1-1/8-Inch stroke length delivers a faster cutting speed
- Variable speed trigger with 0-3000 spm provides increased blade control and faster cut speed
- Pivoting adjustable shoe extends blade life and allows depth of cut control
Best Heavy Duty Sawzall: Milwaukee 6519-31
Milwaukee is a brand that’s widely known for providing affordable products that work really really well. With the Milwaukee 6519-31, they’ve again delivered a product that’s powerful and has longer stroke lengths, comfortable, sturdy, and value for money.
Technically, Milwaukee invented the sawzall, which is their brand of the reciprocating saw. This specific sawfrom Milwaukee powers a 12 amp motor that should be efficient for most cutting works.
It also boasts SPM of 3000 which will cover for most of your jobs. Thanks to its rubber grip, it’s comfortable and soft to hold, and the inclusion of a counterweight minimizes the vibration while holding. This provides extra comfort and ease for its users.
One of the best characteristics of this saw from Milwaukee is its durability. The internal clutch mechanism has been designed to add extra protection to the motor and gears preventing unnecessary wear and tear.
This is the heaviest of all the sawzalls in our reviews. This is both a plus and a minus. Heavier saws are harder to hold, but in Milwaukee’s case, its because the saw is made really well. This unit will last a very long time.
Milwaukee has also provided a polyurethane case which makes it easy for you to carry it to your work location. For its cost, Milwaukee has provided a truly exceptional product with many features that’ll surprise you.
This saw will certainly last a long time and the affordable price tag is the icing on the cake.
What We Like:
- Excellent value for money
- 12 Amp motor
- Adjustable speed
- Counterweight feature minimizes vibration
- Internal clutch provides extra protection
- Carry-case is also provided
- Very Durable
What We Don’t Like:
- Doesn’t provide any free blades
- QUICK LOCK TECHNOLOGY: You can add and remove blades without tools thanks to the latch on the side...
- VIBRATION REDUCTION: An internal counter weight mechanism makes using the tool more comfortable and...
- GEAR PROTECTING CLUTCH: The internal components will last longer with the help of a clutch. With it,...
- HIGH POWERED MOTOR: You can rip through wood at speeds as high as 3,000 strokes per minute,...
Best Cheap Cordless Sawzall: Black+Decker BDCR20B
The BDCR20B saw from Black+Decker is an impressive product that comes power packed. This power saw is battery powered but comes with a standard lithium battery. This kind of battery is more durable and can hold a charge much longer than the standard battery.
The Black+Decker BDCR20B boasts a 20 volt power that should easily be able to handle whatever work you may have to do. Not just that, but it weighs only 3.8 pounds and has a 7/8 stroke length.
Another unique point is that it allows for quick changes due to its tool-free blade cover. It also has a speed trigger that can go up to 3000 SPM.
It’s easy to use and maneuver and has a sturdy built that’ll surely pass the test of time. If you can deal with the strong vibration, this option will be a top choice.
What We Like:
- Lithium battery
- Easy to use
- Tool-free design
What We Don’t Like:
- Battery not included
- Strong vibration
- No charger
- Cordless reciprocating saw features tool-free blade change
- Pivoting shoe
- Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.
- Battery and charger sold separately
Honorable Mention: Dewalt DW310k
The DW310k from Dewalt is powerful sawzall that possesses 12 amps of power. Its lightweight and you don’t have to be cautious about the battery dying out in the middle of your work as you would do with a standard battery model.
The DW310K also maintains a respectable range of speed, starting from 0 PM to as high as 2700 SPM. This speed range should cover most of your requirements.
With this tool, you don’t have to bother stopping and pulling while you work to make changes thanks to the keyless blade cover feature. And, the anti-slip grip feature on this reciprocating saw is easy to control and make adjustments with, even if you’re in the middle of your work.
Dewalt is also known for providing world-class care to their customers. If you face any problems with this item or if it’s simply not to your liking, you can return it back through their 90 day money back guarantee.
Dewalt also provides a 3 year warranty along with a 1 year free service so that you’re eligible to receive no-cost repairing if you happen to face any problems with your unit. This is excellent coverage compared to most of its competitors.
Their money back guarantee is very appealing and you can return it back if it’s not satisfactory. Overall, you don’t have much to lose buying this reciprocating saw.
What We Like:
- 3-year warranty
- Case included
- Easy to use
- Highly adjustable
- Money back scheme
- 1-year free service
What we don’t like:
- Plastic case
- Blade release can jam
- 12 Amp motor delivers increased power for heavy-duty applications
- 0-2,700 SPM and 1-1/8-inch stroke length for fast and efficient cutting
- Keyless stainless steel blade clamp for quick and easy blade changes and increased reliability
- Keyless adjustable shoe easily adjusts depth of cut and extends blade life
Corded vs Cordless
When it comes to the power sources of a reciprocating saw, you have two choices: cordless and corded. Both have their own share of pros and cons.
Corded Reciprocating Saw
The corded reciprocating saw doesn’t have the weight of batteries and you can use it as long as you have a power source. There’s no need for you to recharge the batteries for long hours. It’s lightweight and therefore suitable for long hour works or for awkward angles.
The drawback is that the cord can restrict your movement. This can make doing certain jobs difficult and the cord can get cut while you’re working. If you’re interested in a corded option, purchase one that has a rubber cord as these are more flexible and durable.
Cordless Reciprocating Saws
The most obvious advantage of a cordless saw is that you don’t have to plug it in as it’s battery operated. This is very advantageous for situations where you have to maneuver difficult areas as your movements won’t be restricted by a cord.
However, this flexibility also comes with a drawback. Since your saw doesn’t have a cord, it’ll have to depend on a battery. This won’t only make the saw heavy to carry around but you’ll also have to charge the battery beforehand.
If a cordless reciprocating saw is appropriate for you, we recommend looking for one that is lithium-ion operated as they last much longer than a standard battery.
Lastly, keep in mind that batteries often come separately from the saw.
Reciprocating Saw Considerations
There are a plethora of options in the market, each with its unique specifications and features. Your budget is an important feature but there are also good quality products available for all price ranges. Understanding what features to look for in a saw is very important before picking one that ticks all your needs.
Power in a reciprocating saw is completely based on the kind of work you’re going to undertake. For example, if you’re going to only cut through a PVC pipe, you’ll require a far less power level in comparison to remodeling an entire house.
It also depends on whether you require a saw for casual or professional work. For professional use, you should opt for a more powerful tool.
Whether you pick a corded or cordless saw, they provide the same range of power level but some users find that corded saws are more consistent with their power level. There are various power levels available, ranging from 5 amps to 15 amps and higher.
If you require a saw for heavy duty or professional work, then a power level above 10 amps should be suitable to carry out any job assignment you may have.
The speed of the saw is equal to the number of strokes it makes in a minute. The higher the speed level, the quicker and easier it’ll be for you to cut through materials. If you’re just an average user, you won’t require a very high level of speed, but I’d still recommend that you purchase the highest speed level according to your budget so that you can work more intensively and faster even if it’s just a regular home improvement project.
Stroke length relates to the reach the saw possesses. The more important factor is not how long the blade is but how far the blade moves. Generally, this feature doesn’t make a big difference as the range is very small between 7/8” and 1-1/8”.
Other important criteria you need to consider are the saw’s handle. Plastic handles can be very uncomfortable to hold so look for handles that are composed of foam, rubber, and other shock-absorbing materials that can lessen the stress exerted on your wrist and hands. Generally, cheaper corded tools incorporate plastic handles.
You might consider spending a few extra bucks for the comfort and ease of handling. Reciprocating saws are known to vibrate extensively, so investing in an ergonomic handle is important for your safety.
One of the advantages of a reciprocating saw is its mobility which allows you to use it in places where other saws can’t reach. If you frequently work on projects that require you to reach overhead or work for a long duration, the weight of the tool should be an essential consideration.
On the other hand, if you carry out a lot of sawing, look for a heavier saw as it’ll decrease the vibration and improve control.
Important Safety Tips For Using a Reciprocating Saw
Reciprocating saws are powerful tools that can cut through anything. That’s why one of the most important factors while using this powerful cutting tool is safety.
You have to be absolutely sure that not just you but also the environment you’re working in is safe. Here are some crucial safety tips on using your reciprocating saw.
Choose One That Suits Your Needs
This is very important in lessening your chances of an accident. Many people look for saws that are packed with features but this can be a wrong approach. Instead of picking one that’s overloaded with functionalities, choose the one that’s comfortable and has features that you require.
Another important factor is that the device should be easy to carry around, easy to store, and just as smooth to operate.
Remember to never start the device right off the bat. Take some time to read everything in the instruction manual before using your reciprocating saw.
Keep The Surroundings Safe And Secure
Use the reciprocating areas in areas that are well lit. This is to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of those around you.
Before you start your work, remove everything from that area. If you’re going to work on a DIY project in your home, do it in a place that’s secluded and make sure that children and pets don’t have access to it.
Use Safety Gear
Wearing safety gear is crucial while operating a reciprocating saw. Wear overalls, safety glasses, gloves, and dust masks to keep accidents from occurring.
Moreover, don’t wear jewelry or loose-fitting clothes that can get stuck in the reciprocating saw. Whether you’re working at home or working professionally, don’t compromise on safety gear. They might cost you a bit extra but your safety is priceless.
Balance Is Key
When using a reciprocating saw, you have to maintain balance and firmly hold the device. You’ll experience some recoil, so use both hands and hold the machine firmly. Additionally, you have to be sure that the blades of your saw are powerful enough to cut through the materials easily. Never try to operate the reciprocating saw with only one hand. It’s dangerous and can lead to serious injuries.
A sharpless blade can prove to be very dangerous as it can break off and injure you. Always choose a blade that’s appropriately sharp.
Most reciprocating saws require electricity to function which requires you to be extra careful and vigilant. When you plug in the device, make sure that the socket is turned off.
Moreover, avoid pulling off or jerking the cord when you’re in the middle of your work. If you have to move around with the saw switched on, carry the cord instead of pulling or dragging it.
Additionally, when using electric products never touch them with wet hands. Always keep your hands dry and use rubber gloves.
Don’t Touch The Blade
Never try to touch the blade of your reciprocating saw. This can be extremely dangerous and many accidents have occurred in the past as a result of touching the blades while cutting.
Use With Caution
Use your reciprocating saw gently and patiently. Don’t thrust the saw and avoid exerting pressure on the blade. Additionally, don’t try to overreach, switch your saw off and grab a stool.
Alternative: Use a Table Saw
To get the most out of your reciprocating saw, you may also want to invest in a good table saw. Not just for your safety but it’ll make your work much easier, quicker, and will provide more accurate results.
Various tables saws are available and they can be highly valuable regardless of whether you use it at home or for commercial reasons. They can make your cutting work more convenient and accurate.
Table saws can help you prevent mistakes and injuries.
There are a lot of considerations to take into account when purchasing a reciprocating saw. First, focus on deciding you preference on a corded or a cordless option. After that, find the right model for your needs based on power, speed, and ergonomics.
In our opinion, the Makita JR3050T is the clear winner for top reci saw that you can buy. It’s a high-performance model yet lightweight enough for beginners. You can cut through any material with this saw, be it plastics, plaster, drywall, metal, or wood.
If you’re a bit more price conscious, you can opt for the SKIL 9606 02. This brand routinely makes entry level power saws that rank at the top of our list, and this saw is no different.
This is perfect for daily DIY tasks yet powerful enough to do all the heavy lifting around the house. A nice bonus is the tool-less blade.
Whatever saw you pick, enjoy everything you’re able to accomplish with your demolition saw, and stay safe.