When you are remodeling, sometimes just using a hammer does not cut it. You might break concrete, but it will take a lot of effort to break apart pipes. Besides, you would be wasting so much resource when you are breaking things apart. Like a piece of pipe can be reused, a piece of wood can also be reused in this situation. But with so many brands flooding the market lately, it becomes difficult to choose one. So we decided to review the best reciprocating saws for you to choose from.
What Is a Reciprocating Saw and why Is It Different from a Jigsaw
Reciprocating saws are like jigsaws, which has a reciprocating motion with a saw blade attached at the tip. However, a jigsaw is a handy tool that provides you with much cleaner cuts. It is used where refine cuts are required, for instance, woodwork. Meanwhile, a reciprocating saw is used where you want to cut things without refinement. An example of that is when you are remodeling and want to cut pipe and lumber.
It has a much more destructive force and a less clean cut than a jigsaw. That is why you can see people using a reciprocating saw when they are cutting branches and pipes. It can also cut nails from within the wood. So when you are cutting lumber with nails, you can just go through it with the saw.
New reciprocating saws have a new feature these days that helps it in cutting wood easier. It is called an orbital movement function. This adds in a very small orbital motion to the already reciprocating movement of the blade. This allows you to cut through wood much better.
If you are planning on buying a reciprocating saw, then you need to know a few things that can help you choose from the ones on our list. If you know these basics, you can choose one that is not on our list as well.
The length of the forward motion of the reciprocating saw is the stroke length. The farther the saw moves, the more teeth the material comes in contact with. This makes cutting with small fast strokes more difficult compared to a longer stroke of the saw. This applies in hand saws the most, where smaller faster strokes waste more strength. A longer stroke of the saw does use force, but it cuts faster.
Some reciprocating saws have very minor stroke length. Compared to them a longer stroke length provides you with more advantage in cutting.
Strokes per Minute
Since a reciprocating saw moves in a to and fro motion, it can be considered a stroke. The number of strokes per minute in a saw means better performance. The more strokes per minute, the better the reciprocating saw will cut. Many saws have different maximum strokes per minute. But it is not always going to be the deciding factor.
You have to factor in both, the stroke length and the stroke per minute of the reciprocating saw. When you consider both of those, you are able to choose a much better saw that will provide you with great results.
Corded vs Cordless
When it comes to portability, nothing beats a cordless power tool. You can also find a cordless reciprocating saw, because of how advanced batteries have become. There are multiple tools, which are very powerful but can work cordless thanks to powerful batteries. But one thing to keep in mind though, they are a tad bit more expensive than their corded counterparts.
There is that and the fact that if you by chance forgot to charge the battery, you will not be able to use the reciprocating saw. So even battery-powered tools are not completely flawless. The good news is though, that some brands offer universal batteries for all of their tools. Like Ryobi for instance, not to mention it is an affordable brand with great quality.
Different material requires a different blade to cut. When it comes to cutting wood, something with fewer teeth will suffice compared to when you are cutting metal. When cutting metal you will need a different kind of blade designed to do the job. If you feel your reciprocating saw is lagging behind, chances are you might not be using the right blade for the job.
When you are purchasing reciprocating saw blades, keep an eye on what kind of material it can be used on.
Chances are some brands will provide more usability features than others. There are brands that do not have a variable speed trigger system while most do. Some reciprocating saws even have an LED to illuminate the work surface you are cutting. There is also an anti-vibration handle on some which helps in dulling the vibration effect allowing you to use the saw for longer periods of time.
Some usability features are more important than others like DEWALT gives you a 4-position clamp. This allows you to cut in either of the 4 directions without having to turn the saw in that position. Such a feature is more usable than an LED light. Getting it would be much better, but if you could have both, then go for that instead.
With these things out of the way, let us start reviewing the best reciprocating saws in the market right now.
The Best Reciprocating Saws of 2020
1. Milwaukee 2720-20 M18 SAWZALL
Milwaukee has been the go-to brand for professionals for a while now. It is one of the bigger names in the power tool market along with the likes of Makita. The Milwaukee 2720-20 M18 Sawzall reciprocating saw is a powerful tool that can cut down metal and wood with ease. This is a cordless saw that you can use with ease for a long time before you have to charge your battery.
Being brushless, the reciprocating saw does not heat up a lot even under heavy workloads. A smart function enables this saw to avoid overloading by communicating with the battery, the saw, and the charger. This makes this saw ideal for long term use.
When it comes to the technical features this saw has 3,000 strokes per minute. Meaning this saw will make easy work of cutting down nails, wood, metal pipes, and other metal objects like rebar. It has a stroke length of 1-1/8″, which is really great for cutting down materials fast.
- Powerful Battery
- Redlink Plus Protects from Overloading, Overheating, and Over-discharge
- Good Stroke Per Minute and Stroke Length
2. Ryobi P517 Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Ryobi does not need any introductions. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you must love their products. They are not only affordable but plenty powerful as well. People recommend Ryobi products since their batteries are universally accepted by all of their tools. The Ryobi P517 is not an exception, as you can use the same 18V Lithium-Ion battery in this reciprocating saw as their other tools.
It has an anti-vibration handle that allows you to use it for longer without getting your hands numb. So for longer operations, this is the ideal reciprocating saw, while it is a tad bit slower in cutting metal.
But it is not as slow as to make your work a drag. Also, it is very reasonably priced, compared to other brands like Milwaukee and DEWALT. In fact, it has an orbital movement feature that makes cutting through wood very easy. It has a stroke length of 1-1/8 in, as much as the Milwaukee. It also operates at 3,200 strokes per minute, 200 strokes more than the Milwaukee, per minute.
- Universal Battery for All Ryobi Products
- Antivibration Handle
- High Stroke Per Minute and Good Stroke Length
- Tests Show This Cuts Metal Slower Than Other Professional Brands
3. DEWALT Corded Reciprocating Saw DWE304
If you do not have a problem with cords, here is a corded reciprocating saw by the DEWALT brand. DEWALT can be considered one of the leading brands alongside Makita and Milwaukee in professional power tool manufacturing. They really have a great array of tools that have solid reliability, and this corded reciprocating saw is a great example.
The DWE304 reciprocating saw from DEWALT has a 4-position blade clamp. This allows the blade to turn either 4 directions without having to turn the saw itself. This might not matter at most, but it gives one the advantage of keeping the best posture for the job to cut things.
Whether it is metal or wood, the 10AMP motor cuts it apart without hassle. It is very powerful and has the ability to cut in 4 directions without turning the saw. It has 2,800 strokes per minute operating speed with a 1-1/8-inch stroke length.
- Powerful 10AMP motor
- 4-Position Clamp for Cutting in 4 Directions
- Variable Speed Trigger For Controlling Speed
- Good Stroke Per Minute Speed and Stroke Length
- Corded Makes it Less Portable
4. Makita XRJ05Z 18V Brushless Cordless Recipro Saw
Makita XRJ05Z 18V Brushless Cordless reciprocating saw is a really powerful tool. It has a powerful motor operating inside that can provide a maximum of 3,000 strokes per minute blade speed. It has 2 speeds that it operates at, one is 0-2, 300 strokes per minute, while the higher setting is 0-3,000 strokes per minute.
While you are operating at the low setting, you can control the speed between 0-2,300 strokes per minute using the variable speed trigger. And at the high setting, you get 0-3,000 stroke per minute speed on your Makita reciprocating saw. The stroke length is 1-1/4-inches long which is the greatest so far in all of the saws we reviewed.
This makes the Makita a better choice for cutting wood, specifically trees branches. Like most reciprocating saws in our list, it has a tool-free blade change system. The saw is one of the best reciprocating saws in the market. The only downside is, it is a bit expensive. If you want quality though, you have to pay extra.
- Powerful Motor
- Variable Speed Trigger
- Great Stroke Length Compared to Competition
- LED Light for Illuminating Work Surface
5. BLACK+DECKERS BDCR20C
Black and Decker slowly becoming a rising star in the power tool industry. It is not a very popular brand, but it has some decent tools in its catalog. One of them is the BDCR20C reciprocating saw, part of its 20V max tools. All of the tools in the 20V max system uses a universal 20V battery that works in all of its tools.
This reciprocating saw has a variable speed trigger for controlling the speed of the strokes. It has a maximum stroke speed of 3,000 strokes per minute and a stroke length of 7/8-inches which is very short compared to all of the other products we have reviewed thus far. Other than the shorter stroke length, this saw has makings of a great tool.
It is inexpensive, which is a great thing, making it just the perfect tool for DIY enthusiasts. The Black and Decker brand is great for people who are just starting off and need inexpensive tools to practice on.
- Good Stroke Per Minute
- 20V Universal Battery Shared with All Black and Decker Tools
- Variable Speed Trigger
- Very Short Stroke Length Compared to Competition
6. DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw DCS380B
If you were impressed by the corded version of the DEWALT reciprocating saw, then this will impress you even further. The Cordless DEWALT DCS380B 20V Max Cordless reciprocating saw features the same 4-position clamp as the corded version. But now you have the advantage of added mobility thanks to it being cordless. It even has higher strokes per minute, 3,000 to be precise, compared to the 2,800 on the corded model.
The saw has a 1-1/8-inch stroke length which is the standard used by most brands. It has a variable speed trigger which helps you control the saw better. But it is more expensive than its corded counterpart, so keep that in mind if you are planning on purchasing it.
This reciprocating saw is ideal for heavy-duty demolition work. Professionals prefer DEWALT, Makita, and Milwaukee over most other brands for bigger tasks.
- 4-position clamp
- Variable Speed Trigger
- Higher Stroke Per Minute than Corded Version
- Good Stroke Length
- Heavy Duty
- Consumes Batteries Fast
7. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw PCC670B
Porter-Cable is another affordable brand for DIY enthusiasts. The Porter-Cable PCC670B 20V Max reciprocating saw is ideal for people who are starting off their journey into the DIY remodeling tasks. It is great for trimming branches of a tree too. Just it cannot handle heavy-duty tasks like a professional demolition. Otherwise, it’s a great product.
The stroke length is short on this reciprocating saw at just 1-inch. It has a variable speed trigger for fine controlling the saw’s speed from 0-3,000 strokes per minute. It has a rather compact design compared to other brands. It is also lighter than most other brands.
It is slightly less durable than most other brands, putting it last in our list of reviews. As we said, great for DIY enthusiasts, not so great for professional-grade demolition tasks.
- Compact Design
- Variable Speed Trigger
- Good Stroke per Minutes
- Low Durability
- Slightly less Stroke Length
With all of these reciprocating saws in the market, choosing the best one suited for your tasks is going to be difficult. But we did our best to review products for professionals and DIY enthusiasts. So choosing one of these will make your job that much easier.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing the right reciprocating saw for yourself. But if you keep those in mind, you will have no trouble finding the saw for your needs.