Do you want the inside scoop on the best reciprocating saws out there? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Recip saw, sabre saw and Sawzall are some of the names a reciprocating saw goes by. The name Sawzall is the most common and we owe our thanks to Milwaukee Electric Tool Company for that awesome name.No matter what name you use for it, a reciprocating saw is an important tool in every contractor, pro remodeller, plumber, carpenter, and DIYer tool kit.
The versatility of a reciprocating saw is unparalleled. It has different blades for cutting through different materials like wood, metal, plastic, fibreglass, stucco, plaster etc.
Your reciprocating saw can handle anything from cutting nails and screws to pruning trees to even removing old pipes and wood with nails embedded within.
You’ve got tons of questions: Should I buy a corded or cordless reciprocating saw? Would a recip saw with attached work light make all the difference? What tasks can I perform with my sawzall?
That’s why we’re here. We’ve done all the boring stuff: research, comparison and testing out saws so you don’t have to. Our best reciprocating saw reviews and recommendation has not only been put together to save you a lot of hassle, it would answer all the questions you may have and more!
Let’s get started.
Page Contents - Easy Navigation
- 1 Why Buy a Reciprocating Saw?
- 2 How does a Reciprocating Saw work?
- 3 Types of Reciprocating Saw
- 4 Electric vs. Cordless Reciprocating Saw
- 5 Most Popular Brands of Reciprocating Saw
- 6 Choosing the Best Reciprocating Saw – What you should know!
- 7 Comparison of the 5 Best Reciprocating Saw
- 8 The FIVE Best Reciprocating Saw Reviews
- 9 Recommendation
Why Buy a Reciprocating Saw?
The following reasons will convince you that adding the reciprocating saw to your arsenal of power tools is a wonderful idea:
Variety of Cuts
A reciprocating saw can be used to make a variety of cuts. Plunge, flush and even surface cuts are some of the many cuts you can make with your recip saw. If you’re someone who would be making many different cuts, wouldn’t a tool that can handle most of these cuts be a great idea?
Do you work with more than one material say wood and metal? Wouldn’t owning onesaw that can cut through wood, metal, brick, concrete, tile, pipe etc. be considered more cost effective than having different saws for different materials?
Jack of all trades
A reciprocating saw is one that can do almost anything. As a remodeller, you can use a recip saw to remove damaged dry walls and old linoleum tiles. As a hunter, this saw comes in handy when you want to saw through bison, elk, antelopes etc. The only thing required are just specialized blades and you can go from cutting meat to pruning trees to cutting pipes and more.
How does a Reciprocating Saw work?
The reciprocating saw is definitely an interesting tool. But how does it work?
The basic working principle of the reciprocating saw is similar to that of the electric carving knife. The back and forth cutting motion is produced by a swash plate, crank or cam. The blade of the reciprocating saw cuts through any material with the aid of its teeth.
The blade is what makes the cut. It has small jagged grooves called teeth. The teeth enable the blade to cut through any material. It does this by preventing the chips of your work piece from binding to your blade by guiding it out of the material you’re cutting.
The motor is what powers the blade as well as the mechanism producing the reciprocating motion (crank, cam or swash plate). The motor can be powered by electricity, batteries etc. Another important part of your reciprocating saw is the handle. Without it, you will not be able to grip your sawzall.
Types of Reciprocating Saw
There are basically two types of reciprocating saw:
Electric Reciprocating Saws
These reciprocating saws have power cords. They are powered by electricity. They are usually more suited to heavy duty industrial work as they can deliver massive amounts of torque non-stop.
The advantage of an electric reciprocating saw is that you can work with it continuously. You’re not hampered by low battery. Your saw will not slow down if battery levels are low as it is powered by electricity.
Cordless Reciprocating Saws
These are battery-powered reciprocating saws. They have batteries which are rechargeable. Batteries are usually rated at 18 volts and above. All battery powered reciprocating saws come with a charger and charge time can vary from 25 to 35 minutes.
The best thing about the cordless reciprocating saw is portability. This type of saw is not limited by a power cord. Therefore, it can be used far away from a power source. Job site versatility guaranteed.
Electric vs. Cordless Reciprocating Saw
The biggest difference between an electric and a cordless reciprocating saw lies in their power source. Also, the electric saws are generally more lightweight than the cordless saws. Batteries contribute to the weight of cordless reciprocating saws.
Although electric reciprocating saws are known to produce more torque, cordless saws are gaining ground in that area. Cordless saws rated at 20 volts and above rival their electric counterparts in torque production. Also, cordless recip saws have better depth strokes than their electric counterparts.
One of the advantages of the cordless reciprocating saw is better manoeuvrability. You can cut both horizontally and vertically at any speed of your choosing. Best of all, you never have to worry about cutting through your power cord while you manoeuvre your recip saw.
Another useful tip to allow you work continuously with your cordless reciprocating saw is an extra battery. All you have to do is swap your battery with a low charge for one that’s full. Lithium ion batteries have an extended battery life when compared with other types of batteries.
Most Popular Brands of Reciprocating Saw
All brands of reciprocating saws claim to be “the best” in the market. This claim makes choosing a brand for your reciprocating saw a daunting task. Here are some brands that actually deliver on quality and more:
- Bosch reciprocating saw: When this German company says they’re one of the best in reciprocating saw manufacture, they mean. They have over a 100 years’ worth of experience to back them up.The CRS180 is a reciprocating saw from their product range.
- Dewalt reciprocating saw: The DeWalt brand is one of the most popular on the market. This company has been making reciprocating saws for a very long time. DWE311K is one of the many quality reciprocating saws from this brand.
- Makita reciprocating saw: This is another company that has been around for over a century. Quality powerful reciprocating saws are right down their alley. The RJ01W Recip saw is from their Recip saw range.
- Ryobi reciprocating saw: A subsidiary of TTI North America, the Ryobi brand of products is one many users love. They have been making saws for a long time. The 18V One+ Reciprocating saw is one of their most popular products.
- Milwaukee reciprocating saw: If innovative and quality reciprocating saws is what you’re looking for, look no further than the Milwaukee brand. This brand has been around for over 85 years. The M18 Fuel Sawzall Recip saw is one of the products from their Reciprocating saw range.
Choosing the Best Reciprocating Saw – What you should know!
Before you even consider buying a reciprocating saw, here are some essential factors you must consider:
The motor of most reciprocating saws is rated in amps. The higher the current; the more the power from the saw. A 10 amp motor would give a better power output than a 6 amp rated one. Recip saws with motors rated higher than 10 tend to have no issues handling heavy duty tasks.
Many manufacturers love to scream “ergonomic design” on every product. What you really should look out for is weight, vibration and grip. Since your saw comes with a battery which would contribute to the weight, the overall weight is important. The grip/handle should be soft. Also, your saw shouldn’t vibrate during use. Basically, a lightweight saw with soft grip that doesn’t vibrate is what you’re aiming for.
How long your saw will last depends on what its inner components are made of. Saws with all metal transmission and magnesium gear housing last longer than those without. This is what you should look out for.
Your reciprocating saw should offer you different angles of use: horizontal and vertical. Be on the lookout for features like variable speed control which is a must-have on any self-respecting sawzall out there.
This is also very important. Having a work light attached to your saw is great for when you want to work in dimly lit areas. A work light on your saw will save you the hassle of holding a light while you work in a poorly lit area.
Easy Blade Change
This is another important factor. Go for brands that come with tool-less blade replacement technology for easy and fast blade change wherever you are.
Like we often say, a warranty is a manufacturer’s seal of trust in their product. Go for brands that have longer warranties, this will ensure you save money on saw repairs and parts replacement if needed.
Comparison of the 5 Best Reciprocating Saw
Here is a comparison of the 5 Reciprocating Saw we reviewed below
|Reciprocating Saw Features||Bosch CRS180K||DeWalt DC385K2||Makita XRJ02Z||Milwaukee 2720-21||Ryobi P515|
|Stroke depth||1-1/8 inches||1-1/8 inches||1-1/8 inches||1-1/8 inches||7/8 inches|
|Battery Type||Li Ion||Ni-Cad||Li Ion||Li Ion||Li Ion|
|Warranty||1 year||3 years||3 years||5 years||3 years|
The FIVE Best Reciprocating Saw Reviews
Check out our best 5 best cordless reciprocating saw reviews. Out of the 10 products we tested, the ones below made the cut:
1, Bosch CRS180K Reciprocating Saw Review
Bosch brand is synonymous with quality. The CRS180K is the first on our best reciprocating saw review list. Here’s why we think it’s a great saw.
Bosch CRS180K is rated at 18V. It can reach speeds of 2,700 SPM (strokes per minute). This bad boy has enough power to handle cutting through fibre glass, plastic, PVC, wood etc.
The CRS180K comes with two blades. The 6 inch 8+ 10TPI bi-metal blade is used for metals and nails. The second blade is the 6 inch 6TPI bi-metal blade for wood.
Stroke depth on the Bosch CRS180K is 1-1/8 inches. This allows you remove more material per stroke. It also comes with an adjustable shoe.
Bosch CRS180K comes with a lithium ion battery and a charger. The charge time is one hour but the battery lasts for a very long time. A variable speed trigger completes the ensemble on this saw.
Weighing just 7.6 lbs with battery, the CRS180K is lightweight. It is perfect for working overhead.The LED battery gauge is a nice addition to this little reciprocating saw
One of the things we love about this saw is its Lock Jaw blade change system. It’s so easy to change saw blades on the Bosch CRS180K. No more having to pull on hot blades or leaving the blade to cool before changing.
We loved using the Bosch CRS180K. But we really wish it came with a hard carrying case instead of a tool bag. Its tool bag doesn’t inspire much confidence as protection should this tool accidentally drop once you pack it up.
Bosch CRS180K is a great reciprocating saw regardless. It is the perfect tool for remodellers, electricians and DIYers who want tremendous torque in a lightweight package. It would be foolhardy to go for another saw.
2, Dewalt DC385K2 Reciprocating Saw Review
Second on our best reciprocating saw review list is a quality product from the DeWalt brand. The DC385K2 is one recip saw we love. We’re sure you will too:
The DeWalt DC385K2 is rated at 18V. This recip saw can reach maximum speeds of 3,000 SPM. That’s enough power to cut through PVC pipes, wooden joists, prune trees etc.
The stroke depth on this saw is 1-1/8 inches. More materials removed per stroke. It has a pivoting adjustable shoe for more blade visibility.
The DeWalt DC385K2 comes with two Ni-Cad batteries and a charger. The batteries have a charge time of 1 hour each. This sawzall also has a variable speed trigger.
This recip saw has a keyless lever-action blade clamp for easy blade change. It has a trigger lock for more blade control. The DeWalt DC385K2 has very comfortable anti-slip grips and a hard carrying case.
This saw weighs just 5.8lbs. The saw is very light and compact. This makes it perfect for working in tight corners.
The best thing about this saw is the 4 position blade clamp. This enables you make flush cuts. And it’s also very versatile too.
The DeWalt DC385K2 is a great tool with some issues. We really wish it came with blades. Also, there is no battery gauge. There is no way to tell when the battery is low or needs charging till the saw dies on you.
All in all, the DeWalt DC385K2 is a great reciprocating saw. Any remodeller, serious DIYer and contractor would be foolish to pass up this wonderful sawzall.
3, Makita XRJ02Z Reciprocating Saw Review
Coming in third on our best cordless reciprocating saw review list is a quality product from the Makita brand. The XRJ02Z is one circular saw that’s giving other saws on our list, a run for their money.
Makita XRJ02Z is rated at 18 volts. This saw reaches speeds of 2,900 SPM. It’s got enough power to cut through wood, PVC, cast iron and nail embedded wooden frames etc.
The XRJ02Z comes with one blade. The 6 inch 6TPi Recipro saw blade. It has a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches. This length allows you cut through more material.
Makita XRJ02Z weighs 8.2 lbs with battery. It is light and compact. It has a work hook so you can hang it from your ladder while you work. This helps prevent the tool from falling and breaking anytime you use it overhead.
This saw has got many features we’re loving. It has a two-finger variable speed trigger. It has not one, but two LED lights for when you work in dimly lit areas.
The tool-less blade change system on the Makita XRJ02Z is one we think is awesome. You just twist to unlock, and then slide in the blade to lock. Fast and very easy blade change.
As much as we love the Makita XRJ02Z, we do have one issue with it. We wish it wasn’t tool only. If you don’t already own Makita power tools, you will have to spend extra money on a battery and charger.
All in all, you can’t beat the Makita XRJ02Z for power. This saw is the perfect jobsite tool for any builder, carpenter and contractor out there. You wouldn’t get this much power anywhere else.
4, Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Reciprocating Saw Review
Milwaukee brand is known for making some of the best reciprocating saws on the market. The Milwaukee 2720-21 is fourth on our review list. And we can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Milwaukee 2720-21is rated at 18V. Its maximum speed is 3,000 SPM. This sawzall can handle cutting through PVC, nail embedded wood, plain wood, fibre glass and more.
This saw comes with a blade. It has a stroke depth of 1-1/8 inches for removing more material per stroke. It also has a keyless adjustable shoe and a hard carrying case.
Milwaukee 2720-21 comes with a red lithium ion battery and a multi-voltage charger. The charge time is 40 minutes and the battery lasts for a very long time. A variable speed trigger is also included.
The saw weighs 8.9 lbs with battery. It is not as lightweight as we would have liked. It has a work hook so you can hang it from your ladder or joist while you work. This helps prevent the tool from falling and breaking anytime you use it overhead.
Some other features we appreciate on the Milwaukee 2720-21 include the LED work light and the quick lock universal blade clamp. This keyless clamp makes it extremely easy to swap your blade for a new one.
Try as we may, we could find no fault with the Milwaukee 2720-21. This is certainly one of the best reciprocating saws on our list. It is powerful enough to handle heavy duty work.
Milwaukee 2720-21 is a wonderful reciprocating saw. You can’t beat its power and balance. Any contractor, carpenter, electrician and DIYer who wants a powerful tool for heavy duty work should not pass up this tool.
5, Ryobi P515 One+ Reciprocating Saw Review
And the final product on our best cordless reciprocating saw review list is the Ryobi P515. Just because it is number 5 doesn’t mean you should underestimate this recip saw.
Ryobi P515 has an 18V rating. This little sawzall has a maximum speed of 3,100 SPM. This saw can prune trees, cut through wood and metallic materials like pipes.
The P515 has a stroke length of 7/8 inches. It also comes with an adjustable pivoting shoe which gives greater depth control. Its variable speed trigger is a nice feature to have on this saw.
Weighing just 4.6lbs, the Ryobi P515 is the lightest reciprocating saw on our review list. This saw is light and portable enough for overhead work. Arm fatigue is virtually non-existent with this tool.
We love how much this brand has put into making their product as safe as possible. The Ryobi P515 has an electronic brake which stops the blade in seconds. It also comes with a lock-off button to prevent accidental starting of the reciprocating saw.
The Ryobi P515 comes with an anti-vibration handle. This is great in preventing fatigue after sometime. It also has a tool-less blade clamp for fast and easy change of blades.
Ryobi P515 was a joy to use. But we didn’t find it as powerful as the other 18V reciprocating saws on this list. Also, getting a hang of holding the on switch and safety trigger was a hassle.
All in all, the P515 is a great reciprocating saw. It is perfect for homeowners, home repair hobbyists and anyone who regular does light duty work. To buy anything else would be overkill.
You’ve made it to the end of our review and guide. We hope we have been able to help you in making an excellent choice of cordless reciprocating saw.
If you’re still undecided, here are a few recommendations:
- If you’re in the market for the overall best cordless reciprocating saw, we say go for the Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel. That is one saw guaranteed to rival any corded reciprocating saw out there.
- If you’re a homeowner looking for a small reciprocating saw, the Ryobi P515 is the saw for you. It is lightweight, compact and can handle most tasks around the house.
- If you want the best reciprocating saw on a budget, go for the Bosch CRS180K. A powerful recip saw at a great price.
If you have further questions, leave us a comment and we’d get back to you.