The 10 Best Reciprocating Saws

Updated June 03, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you're a professional tradesman or simply preparing to take on an ambitious do-it-yourself project, one of these reciprocating saws will come in handy for a variety of different tasks. They're ideal for making holes in walls, quickly cutting through PVC pipe, fitting windows, or hacking through various other materials for demolition jobs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best reciprocating saw on Amazon.

10. Skil 9216

Given its power, the Skil 9216 is surprisingly nimble, which allows you to access tight spots in attics and crawlspaces without much of a problem. Its sturdy metal housing ensures that this tool will endure years of frequent use and abuse.
  • bright power-on indicator light
  • simple tool-free blade removal
  • rather tough to change blade speed
Brand Skil
Model 9216-01
Weight 8.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. VonHaus Variable

A well-placed trigger makes it simple to alter the speed of the VonHaus Variable, which comes in handy for alternating between short cuts and periods of extended use. You can use it right- or left-handed to cut through materials like wood, steel or copper.
  • nice value for its quality
  • silicone handle for solid grip
  • included blades are subpar
Brand VonHaus
Model 15/138US
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. DeWalt Bare-Tool

Thanks to a cutting stroke that combines strength with precision, the DeWalt Bare-Tool can handle most professional jobs or home projects with ease. It makes especially quick work of heavy brush and shrubs, which means you don't have to buy an extra tool for that.
  • up to 3000 strokes per minute
  • easy-to-use lever blade clamp
  • vibrates quite a bit
Model DC385B
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Skil Buzzkill

If you’re looking for a basic, no-frills workhorse, check out the Skil Buzzkill. It’s solid enough to handle the abuse that comes with being owned by a carpenter or a plumber, and it features built-in vibration suppression technology for a smooth operation.
  • large variable-speed trigger
  • fast and simple blade changing
  • does not come with a case
Brand Skil
Model SPT44A-00
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Black & Decker RS600K

The Black & Decker RS600K is a versatile model that allows for precision cuts time after time. The fastest of its six speeds reaches 2,400 strokes per minute, allowing you to blaze through tough jobs or finesse your way through delicate projects.
  • long 6-foot power cord
  • includes wood and metal blades
  • backed by a 2-year warranty
Model RS600K
Weight 11.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Porter Cable TigerSaw

Equipped with a steady, forceful drive train, the Porter Cable TigerSaw offers ample power for blasting through the toughest construction materials, such as hardwoods, laminated plywood, and various types of piping. A tool-free release makes it easy to swap blades.
  • maneuvers into tight spaces
  • has a long-lasting charge
  • contoured handle for comfort
Model PCC670B
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

4. Makita JR3050T

A highlight of the Makita JR3050T is its internal dust blower system that clears debris away from your cutting line, offering improved visibility and safety. The large, two-fingered trigger can be locked on to help provide a more consistent, accurate cut.
  • well-balanced to minimize fatigue
  • comes with blades and rugged case
  • powerful 11-amp motor
Brand Makita
Model JR3050T
Weight 13.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Milwaukee Sawzall

From a respected name in power tools, the Milwaukee Sawzall is engineered to provide dependable cutting power with an efficient, smooth blade stroke. It tends to last a long time, regardless of whether you're using it to cut through thin pieces of wood or heavy-duty metal.
  • made in the united states
  • minimal vibrations
  • durable impact-resistant exterior
Brand Milwaukee
Model 6519-30
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Bosch PS60

Whether you need to attack wood, metal, or plastic, the pint-sized but potent Bosch PS60 should be able to slice through it all. It's not as large or strong as its full-sized counterparts, but it fits in one hand and won't tire you out nearly as quickly.
  • easy-to-grip pistol handle
  • carry case has substantial capacity
  • overload voltage protection
Brand Bosch
Model PS60-102
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. DeWalt DC380L

Don’t let the fact that the DeWalt DC380L is battery-powered make you skeptical — this thing is a monster that’ll slice through two-by-fours, iron, copper, plastic or tree limbs. The battery charges quickly and lasts long enough to complete ambitious jobs.
  • rubber grip for precise control
  • adjustable 4-position blade clamp
  • stays cool while in operation
Model DCS380L1
Weight 13.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

One Of The Toughest Tools In The Shed

Many tools are purpose built and should be used only for their intended application. This is true with everything from a drill bit designed for use only with tile, as it is for a saw blade custom designed to grind its way through concrete or stone. A trim hammer has no more business being used to break up a patch of asphalt as does a sledgehammer being used to drive finishing nails and brads.

Then there are other tools that can be used for a variety of purposes with good results, provided the person using the tool knows what he or she is doing. A miter saw can be used to cut PVC piping just as readily as it can be used to cut lumber, for example, and a good pair of pliers can be used to loosen screws, tighten bolts, twist pipes, and so much more.

Finally, we come to the reciprocating saw. It's little wonder that this mighty tool is frequently (and affectionately) referred to as the sawzall, for indeed it saws through almost all materials with ease. (For the record, the term Sawzall is actually trademarked by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.)

A reciprocating saw uses a single slender blade that protrudes from the front of the unit and is pushed and pulled in and out at high speed. When fitted with the right blade type, a "recip saw," as they are often called in certain circles, can cut its way through an impressive range of materials.

There are reciprocating saw blades designed to be used for cutting metal including copper, steel, and cast iron. Others have blades that power through all types of wood. There are also blades that can handle cement board and fiberglass, and then there are multiple purpose blades that are suitable for use cutting many types of material.

Before we talk about the right reciprocating saw for your needs, a few words must be said about safety. It's imperative you always wear thick safety gloves when operating this potentially dangerous power tool, as your hands will be only a few inches away from a sharp, fast moving saw blade. Protective eye wear is also important, as that reciprocating saw can throw up bits of wood, metal, and other debris.

Choosing The Right Reciprocating Saw For Construction

In skilled and steady hands, a reciprocating saw can be used for multiple applications, even for precision work. If you need to cut pipes that must fit tightly together or you need to cut lumber to be used in framing, then make sure to choose a saw with multiple speed control settings. Using a slower cutting speed can help you control your blade as you bear down on the tool. Using a higher speed lets you apply less pressure and focus on holding the tool steadily and safely.

A reciprocating saw is also one of only tools around that can cut a material flush against a flat surface. You can remove a chunk of wood or bar protruding from a wall, for example, by using a longer blade and allowing the blade to bend slightly against the wall as you press it down against the material to be cut away.

Though there are several high quality battery powered reciprocating saws on the market, note that a battery can add lots of extra weight to a tool. For those delicate cutting jobs where precision is key, consider an AC powered option as it might be lighter weight, and consider one of the overall smaller reciprocating saws.

Just keep in mind that the blade you choose for the material you're cutting will often be as (or even more) important than the saw you're using. Fortunately, most reciprocating saw blades are quite affordable. This low price is a good thing, as you should replace your reciprocating saw blades frequently, to avoid accident and maintain efficiency.

Choosing The Right Reciprocating Saw For Demolition

It's when used for demolition that a reciprocating saw truly shines. When fitted with the right blade, a good reciprocating saw can chop right through lumber, nails, wires, and more. Demolition contractors love reciprocating saws precisely for this versatility: there is no need to switch tools when cutting through old framing beams, pipes, drywall, and any other building material that is being removed.

A robust battery powered reciprocating saw is a fine choice for demo work, as the nature of demolition often means frequent movement around a worksite. On the other hand, a 12 amp AC powered reciprocating saw translates to plenty of power for cutting through thicker, tougher materials. It's for you to decide of which mobility or potency is more important.

Ironically, some of the smallest reciprocating saws can actually be the best choice for demolition work. As a demo job often has to be conducted from the top down, with a house or building that's being leveled first having its roof and rafters removed, for example. The lighter a tool is, the easier it is to bring it up a ladder or lift safely, and the less operator fatigue it's going to cause. Smaller tools are also, of course, easier to fit into tight places, like the cabinet under a sink.

When doing demo work with a reciprocating saw, do keep in mind that while many blades can cut right through many materials, not all reciprocating saw blades are created equal. A blade that was designed for metal can cut through wood, but not as efficiently, for example. A blade designed for wood may well not be able to get through metal, and certainly won't do so without grinding its teeth down well past their useful point.

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Last updated on June 03, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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