Best Reciprocating Saws (Sawzalls): 10 picks for easy demolition

Reciprocating saws, or sawzalls as they’re sometimes known in the US, are something of an underdog when it comes to DIY. Don’t be fooled though, their overall versatility, and efficacy on the demolition site, have helped them seriously grow in popularity over the past few years. In this post, we’ll check out the best reciprocating saws for your toolkit.

Different Blades and Uses for Reciprocating Saws

Reciprocating saws can achieve a wide variety of tasks depending on the power of the motor, and the type of blade used. Blades are often described as having varying numbers of teeth per inch, or TPI. We outline the most common types of blade and their applications below.

Woodcutting Blades

These blades are great for most types of wood, as well as tree branches in the yard. They normally have a TPI of 5 to 10.

Metal-cutting Blades

Generally speaking, these blades have a considerably higher TPI of between 10 and 18. They can go as high as 24 TPI. As well as tackling metal materials, these blades are also used to make smooth finishing cuts in wood.

Combination Blades

These are designed to be versatile, and tackle both wooden and metal materials. The TPI here often uses a variable configuration such as 8/11 or 10/14.

Demolition Blades

These are a heavy-duty type of blade perfect for tackling tougher materials like wood that contains nails. The average TPI for these blades is between 6 and 11.

Carbide Grit Blades

These don’t have teeth at all, but use a grit surface instead. Carbide grit blades are normally used in applications involving masonry and tiling.

Carbide Tipped Blades

If you’re cutting very tough, dense material, then you might need these blades. Carbide tipped blades come with a comparatively low average TPI of 8. The carbide tip is very durable, and is therefore capable of handling materials that would ruin other blades.

It can be overwhelming to swim through the sea of options that are currently available. On this page, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best reciprocating saws money can buy. We strongly believe that these saws won’t disappoint.

Best Reciprocating Saws: Our Top Picks

If you fancy joining the growing ranks of people using reciprocating saws to make their lives easier, then you’ve come to the right place. This page lists our top picks for the best reciprocating saws on the market. We also outline some of the key features to consider when buying a new saw.

1. Milwaukee 6538-21 Super Sawzall

Milwaukee 6538-21 15.0 Amp Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw

Overview

At 13.5 lbs, this is a sizeable saw that packs a punch. A quick google search for this offering from Milwaukee returns a staggering number of positive reviews, and we’re not surprised. This is a well made and powerful saw. The 15-amp motor on this machine comes with the highest overload protection available in the industry. This prevents motor failure, and adds a serious boost to safety and durability.

A number of features on the Milwaukee 6538-21 make it a versatile and convenient tool. Constant power technology provides unparalleled cutting performance by maintaining a consistent speed. Your gears and motor will be well protected, thanks to the patented impact-absorbing technology that comes as standard. Vibration is kept to a minimum by this saw’s impressive balancing mechanism. Cuts with this tool are easy to make, and remarkably smooth.

Variable speed settings are controlled on this sawzall with the included dial.

Pros

  • Two patented systems that boost durability and productivity
  • Reliable, constant power

Cons

  • The shoe pin falls out of the shoe release lever quite easily

2. DEWALT DCS380B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw

DEWALT DCS380B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only) with DCB230C 20V Battery Pack

Overview

If you need a reciprocating saw that can handle a variety of different positions, then this is an excellent option. The 4-position blade clamp on this machine makes flush cutting easy. Having options for the positioning of your blade is a great bonus.

The 20Vs of battery power on this saw deliver a 1 – 1/8-inch stroke length. Ultimately, this means a faster, more reliable cutting speed. When compared to other models, the DEWALT DCS380B offers the same level of power and runtime in a package that is considerably smaller and lighter. This is a great option if portability is important to you.

When working with a sawzall, memory issues and self-discharge can cause frustrating amounts of downtime. Luckily, this machine promises no memory issues, with virtually no self-discharge, meaning you can optimize your productivity and keep working for longer.

Pros

  • The 4-position blade clamp boosts versatility
  • Virtually no downtime
  • Portable

Cons

  • In some environments, overheating can become an issue

3. WORX WX508L Reciprocating Saw

WORX WX508L 20V Recip Saw

Overview

The key word here is: adjustments. This tool comes with a number of features that make tweaking your setup a breeze.

The pivot foot plate with this machine provides a larger than average contact surface for added stability and control. This plate is adjustable, making it easy to keep your work stable and safe.

The variable speed settings on this saw are easy to control, and allow you to work on a wide variety of materials. Changing the blade on this machine is nice and easy, thanks to the tool-less switching system.

This battery-powered tool weighs 4.98 lbs and runs on a 20V lithium-ion battery. It’s a great option for those looking for a portable device. The impressive pendulum function improves cutting efficiency, and the included LED torch maintains a great level of visibility.

Pros

  • A cost-effective option
  • Safety features like a larger foot plate and LED torch

Cons

  • The battery capacity can shrink after a few months

4. Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Cordless Sawzall Kit

Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit

Overview

This is an 11.4 lbs reciprocating saw with some serious speed. Milwaukee boasts that this machine is the fastest in its class, with up to 2X more runtime and 5X longer tool life than competitive saws.

This portable, cordless reciprocating saw uses a single 18-volt lithium-ion battery. There are features on this model that allow it to deliver more power than you might expect.

The “powerstate” brushless motor provides an excellent level of performance, and the extended capacity of the battery pack adds a welcome boost to runtime. This battery comes with optimizing technology that protects from overloading, overheating and discharging.

Safety and stability have been well considered here, thanks to the adjustable shoe and integrated LED torch. The included hanging hook and carry case make it convenient to store this saw away when not in use.

Pros

  • Great runtime
  • Durable build quality
  • Great performance for a cordless saw

Cons

  • The blade can stick if not well maintained

5. SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Buzzkill Reciprocating Saw

SKILSAW SPT44A-00 13 Amp Reciprocating Saw with Buzzkill Tech

Overview

Comfort and durability are the name of the game here.

This offering from Skilsaw comes with patented vibration-reducing technology that can reduce vibration up to 35% better than the competition. If you’ve used reciprocating saws before, you’ll know that vibration can be a huge productivity killer and even a safety risk, so this is a great feature to have.

The 13-amp motor on this 9lbs machine delivers 0 – 2800 strokes per minute, and is powerful enough for even the toughest of materials. The variable speed trigger is comfortable, and allows you to tackle a wide variety of tasks. This machine has a stroke length of 1 – 1/8, and can make cuts in a variety of positions thanks to its oversized, ergonomic trigger.

The 180 day “stay true™” guarantee from Skilsaw is a nice bonus for peace of mind. This is an excellent option for both professionals and hobbyists.

Pros

  • Vibration-reducing technology
  • Comfortable and large trigger
  • Durable design

Cons

  • The included warranty could be longer

6. Makita JR3050T Corded Reciprocating Saw

Makita JR3050T Recipro Saw - 11 AMP

Overview

This offering from Makita is suitable for cutting sheet, pallets, wood with nails, plastic and even cast iron piping. It’s another fantastic sawzall option that won’t disappoint.

This 10 lbs reciprocating saw comes with an adjustable shoe, and a tool-less blade-change system. These make quick changes to your setup easy. The 1,010 W motor provides consistent and reliable power, and tackles most tasks with ease. This corded saw has a stroke length of 28mm and makes efficient, smooth cuts.

Makita knows that variable speed settings are a must when making cuts that are accurate and versatile. The variable speed trigger on this model is effective and comfortable to use.

Pros

  • Making adjustments is quick and easy
  • The included carry case is a nice bonus

Cons

  • A little heavy and cumbersome

7. DEWALT DW310K Heavy Duty Reciprocating Saw

DEWALT DW310K 12 Amp Heavy-Duty Reciprocating Saw Kit

Overview

If you’re looking for a reciprocating saw that can handle more heavy-duty tasks, then this 8.6lbs workhorse might be for you. It’s a great option for contractors and similar workers.

The 12-amp motor on this machine delivers an impressive max strokes per minute of 2700. Combine this with the stroke length of 1 – 1/8 and you’re dealing with a very capable tool.

Both the shoe and steel blade clamp on this sawzall can be adjusted without using tools, making this a convenient option for those with a wider variety of requirements. This machine’s variable speed trigger gives immediate control of your strokes per minute. This is an accurate and reliable tool.

When you’re not using the DEWALT DE310K, the included storage case makes it easy to pack away.

Pros

  • It’s very easy to make quick adjustments
  • Compelling price point

Cons

  • The gearing mechanism could be more durable

8. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V: Best budget reciprocating saw

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery, Charger and 20-Volt MAX Extended Run Time Lithium-Ion Cordless To

Overview

If you’re working on a budget, then this might just be the best reciprocating saw on our list. The modular pricing options for this machine mean you only pay for the components you need. This could potentially save you a great deal of money.

Don’t be fooled by the price point; this 4.5 lbs tool still packs a punch. The variable speed trigger allows for up to 3000 strokes per minute, and the compact motor can still tackle plenty of everyday tasks.

Convenience and safety have also been well considered here. The adjustable pivoting shoe and tool-free blade switching system make this a versatile tool that’s easy to use. For moments when you need your blade to stop, fast, the included electric brake system significantly enhances your control of the unit.

The BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C runs on a single 20V lithium-ion battery which is included with your purchase. Extra batteries, as well as high-capacity batteries, are available for an additional fee.

The limited 2-year warranty lends some peace of mind to this already compelling package. The lightweight design make this a fantastic option for those who need portability.

Pros

  • Remarkably affordable
  • Effective electric brake
  • Very portable

Cons

  • The warranty terms could be more generous

9. Bosch 12-Volt Max Compact PS60-102 (best small reciprocating saw)

Bosch 12-Volt Max Pocket Reciprocating Saw Kit PS60-102

Overview

This is another great-value option.

The Bosch PS60-102 comes with an ergonomic design that’s hard to beat. This saw is ideal for both one-handed and overhead use. The compact design and staggeringly light weight of just 2.3 lbs makes this the most portable reciprocating saw on our list.

A single 12V lithium-ion battery powers a robust motor that delivers 0 – 3000 strokes per minute. This tough saw can tackle a variety of materials, including harder materials like copper and conduit.

Another aspect of this saw that catches the eye is its slew of safety features. The power system on this sawzall defends against overheating, overloading and voltage fluctuations. The included LED torch dramatically increases visibility in darker work environments. The motor brake on this machine is very effective, and improves your level of control.

Pros

  • Ultra portable yet heavy-duty design
  • Great safety features
  • Stable pivoting foot.

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life

10. PORTER CABLE PCC670B 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)

Overview

This 4 lbs reciprocating saw is capable of reaching into tight, hard-to-reach spots.

The 20V lithium-ion battery on this machine delivers between 0 and 3000 strokes per minute, allowing it to tackle a wide variety of materials. This versatility is supported by the convenient variable speed trigger that’s very responsive. The tool-less blade release system on this model makes quick adjustments hassle free.

The comfortable rubberized handle and lightweight design make this a sawzall that’s easy to carry wherever you might need it.

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Responsive variable speed trigger

Cons

  • This isn’t the most durable saw on our list

Reciprocating Saw Buying Guide

Corded or cordless?

When buying a new reciprocating saw, you’ll need to decide if you need a corded saw, or if you can manage with one that requires a wired power source.

The portability that comes with cordless saws is great. They allow you to move around freely, without the limitations of a cord. If you know you’ll be moving between multiple locations while working, then cordless is probably the best option. Research the battery life and charging speed of each model you look at. Make sure you choose a saw that won’t run out of juice in the middle of a big project.

As a general rule, corded reciprocating saws come with fewer extra features than their cordless counterparts. However, their increased weight and power mean they can tackle tougher materials, and their constant power supply means you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice.

Variable or single Speed

Most reciprocating saws worth their salt come with a variable speed option. This most often comes in the form of a speed trigger or dial. Variable speed settings allow you to use your saw at a speed that is appropriate for the work you’re doing. Controlling your speed greatly improves accuracy when making plunge cuts, and slower speeds are a great way to mark the line of where you will be cutting.

Single speed saws are set to a specific number of strokes per minute, which can’t be adjusted. If you’ve found a saw from a unique brand that you’re positive would be perfect for your requirements, it’s possible that a single speed saw would be adequate. In general though, look for saws with variable speed settings.

Reliability

When investing in a reciprocating saw, it’s important you find a tool that won’t let you down. Think about the kind of work you’re hoping to do with your saw, and use these requirements to identify the areas where you need your saw to work well.

If you know you’ll be working in multiple locations or harder to reach areas for extended periods of time, make sure you find a portable saw with enough battery life to get the job done.

Once you know the kind of materials you’ll be working with, make sure you pick a saw that can handle those materials. Make sure you’re using blades that are durable and sharp enough for your work.

The last thing you want is the blade to stick or even break. Overall durability is another crucial factor to consider. If your saw is great now, that’s less relevant if it breaks down in two months. Check our reviews here to determine durability.

Blade quality and changing blades

When picking a new saw, it’s definitely worth looking for options with a tool-less system for changing the blade. More traditional or obscure models will use an Allen wrench to change blades. These days, this is a hassle that’s no longer necessary, so double check the blade-changing system when buying a new saw.

When buying new blades for your saw, look for models with high ratings for durability and performance. The last thing you want is a broken blade to get stuck in your saw. Make sure you’re using the right blade for the job with the correct number of teeth per inch.

A demolition job will require different blades than the work of a woodcutter, for example. Always check that your saw is compatible with a new blade before purchasing.

Blade brake

A blade-brake system is a premium feature that’s definitely worth considering. One of the most frustrating hiccups that can occur when working is dealing with your blade snagging on the material that you’re cutting. This can slow down your workflow considerably and cause unnecessary damage. A blade brake system regulates the operation of your saw, and helps to stop your blade from catching on your material.

Length

The length of your saw blade determines the type of work you’ll be able to achieve. Most reciprocating saws come with blades 6 inches long. This is more than enough for most tasks.

Smaller blade lengths are available in more jigsaw-esque offerings. These might be more appropriate for more intricate tasks.

For larger, more heavy-duty tasks, blades of up to 12 inches are available. Make sure that your saw is compatible before buying a new blade.

Stroke Length

The stroke length of a saw determines the depth of cut it is able to make. The larger the stroke length, the deeper the cut. The vast majority of saws come with a stroke length of either 1-1/8 or 1-1/4 inches.

Grip and comfort

Many beginners underestimate comfort when choosing a new saw. Using an uncomfortable tool for extended periods of time can cause serious strain, and even injury if you’re not careful. Look for saws with well-designed, ergonomic grips that won’t let you down.

Consider models that offer multi-grip features. Multi-grip handles are designed to be comfortably held in a variety of different orientations, making operation much more enjoyable.

The weight of your saw is another factor to think about. If you’re going to be carrying your tool around a lot, look for lighter options if possible.

Safety Features

It goes without saying that maintaining safety when working is crucial. When it comes to reciprocating saws, some of the main safety concerns to watch out for are: kickback, braking, and debris.

Look for saws with great lighting features. Visibility is crucial for maintaining accurate and safe cuts. The most common visibility feature, LED torches, can make darker environments much safer.

The braking capabilities of your saw are worth considering closely. On some saws, the blade can keep spinning for far too long after you’ve disengaged the trigger. Effective braking systems will bring your blade to a halt as quickly as possible. This can mean the difference between losing a finger and a small cut!

Some saws will come with safety goggles included. You should always use the correct eye protection when working, so this can be a nice bonus.

Related

Conclusion

We know that finding the best reciprocating saw for the job can be overwhelming. Having plenty of choice is fantastic, but knowing where to start can feel impossible. Our advice would be to figure out what you’re hoping to achieve in as much detail as possible. The more you know about what you need your saw to do, the easier it will be to find the perfect reciprocating saw.

Once you’re clear on your requirements, use our recommendations on this page to narrow down your search. We’ve outlined the key features to look out for when buying a new saw, and listed what we think are the best reciprocating saws on the market.

If you’re looking for a shortcut, our absolute favourite saw on this list is the Milwaukee 6538-21. The innovate, patented technologies and durable design make for an incredibly compelling tool.

Good luck!

Reciprocating Saw Uses: 9 Amazing Things You Can Do

Reciprocating saws have an underdog reputation in the world of DIY. Like any good underdog story, our protagonist here comes out on top. Thanks largely to their versatility and ease of use, these fantastic saws have seen a significant growth in popularity over the past few years.

A great reciprocating saw, or sawzall as they’re known in the US, can be a phenomenal addition to any tool kit. Depending on the type of blade you’re using and the power of your motor, a reciprocating saw can tackle a staggering number of materials. The number of┬áreciprocating saws uses is quite surprising.

This page outlines some of the most common uses for reciprocating saws and the type of cuts they’re able to make.

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS367B)

What is a Reciprocating Saw?

The three names you’ll see written for this type of saw are reciprocating saws, sawzalls and sabre saws. These names all refer to the same tool. But what are they?

Reciprocating saws are handheld devices most commonly used where a sledgehammer or crowbar might not quite be good enough. If you need to rip out the materials surrounding fittings in a building like doors and windows, then a good reciprocating saw is what you need. Any demolition worker worth their salt uses a reciprocating saw.

These machines are also great for cutting through wood that contains nails or metal piping.

Sawzalls are not unlike jigsaws in that the strokes of the blade move backwards and forwards repeatedly. The speed of the blade on a reciprocating saw is defined as the number of strokes per minute, or SPM. A great bonus if you already own a jigsaw, is that some blades might be compatible with your new reciprocating saw.

Uses for Reciprocating Saws

Sabre saws can tackle a wide variety of challenging materials. The type of cuts you’ll be able to make is determined by the kind of blade you’re using and the power of your machine.

1. Cutting Through Anything

Reciprocating saws are designed from the ground up to tackle a wide variety of cutting materials. It all depends on the power of your machine and the type of blade you’re using. What your blade is made from and the number of teeth per inch (TPI) determines the type of cutting you’ll be able to do. In this section, we outline the most common blades used for reciprocating saws and the tasks they’re able to achieve.

Wooden Materials

Bost soft and hardwoods are easily tackled by a reciprocating saw. Wood is one of the most common materials in DIY and demolition projects, so it’s important to have the right tool for the job. You’ll want to use woodcutting blades for most tasks involving wood. Look for a TPI of 5 to 10.

cutting through wood

Metal

Metal can be tough to cut through if you don’t have the right equipment. Luckily, reciprocating saws are very capable of cutting through things like bolts, rebar, rods and piping. Make sure you’re using an appropriate metal-cutting blade. Generally speaking, these blades have a considerably higher TPI of between 10 and 18. They can go as high as 24 TPI. As well as tackling metal materials, these blades are also used to make smooth finishing cuts in wood.

Projects With Both Wood and Metal

For this type of project, you’ll want a combination blade. These are designed to be versatile, and tackle both wooden and metal materials. The TPI here often uses a variable configuration such as 8/11 or 10/14.

Materials on a Demolition Site

If it’s on the demolition site, a reciprocating saw can probably help you destroy it. To quickly cut through plastics, metal sheeting, sheet profiles, all types of wood, metals and sandwich materials you’ll want to use a demolition blade. These are a heavy-duty type of blade perfect for tackling tougher materials. Their wider body provides more stability when cutting. The average TPI for these blades is between 6 and 11.

Masonry and Tiling

Cutting through tiles can be fiddly, and the wrong tool will simply crack what you’re working on. With a good quality carbide grit blade, a reciprocating saw is brilliant for masonry tasks. These blades don’t have teeth at all, but use a grit surface instead.

Very Dense and Tough Materials

If you need to cut material that is very compact, thick and tough, a carbide tipped blade is what you need. These unique blades come with a comparatively low average TPI of 8. The carbide tip is very durable, and is therefore capable of handling materials that would ruin other blades

2. Easy Through Cuts

Through cuts are made when the saw passes completely through the cutting material. Examples of through cuts include cross cuts, angled cuts and mitre cuts.

This type of cutting comes with the risk of kickback, so make sure you read the user manual and use your tool responsibly. Decide what material you want to cut through and then make sure you’ve got the appropriate blade for the job. The variety of blades available for reciprocating saws means it’s easy to tweak your setup to tackle through cuts for loads of different materials.

A top tip when making cuts is to mark the line you plan on cutting. You could use a tape measure and a permanent marker for this. This can make a huge difference to your accuracy. Keep your saw inline with your stomach and in front of you while cutting.

3. Cutting in Tight Spaces

If you need to work in hard-to-reach, cramped spaces with poor visibility, then a reciprocating saw could help a great deal. More portable varieties can be held overhead and with either one or two hands. Look for handles that are designed to be help in multiple positions. Many saws come with premium features like LED torches. These can dramatically improve your visibility in darker work environments. If portability is important to you, look for a saw that weighs between 6 and 10 lbs.

4. Plunge Cuts

Plunge cuts are perfect for when you’re starting a cut at the centre of your material. If necessary, you can drill a small hole into the centre of your material which a blade can then enter. Alternatively, you can lean the front edge of your saw against the surface of your material and gently push down, then across.

It’s very important that you’re using blades that are sharp enough for your chosen material. If your blade is too blunt, you’re just going to make a mess and could even hurt yourself. You should also wear the right eye protection because there’s going to be plenty of dust and debris. If you’re new to making plunge cuts, you might want to practice on some scrap material first.

5. Making Frames

Making frames for home decoration or other creative projects is one of the joys of learning home DIY. A sawzall can make cutting your wood down to size easy. Do some thinking about the type of wood you’d like for your project. Now, determine how thick and tough this wood is. Next, choose a reciprocating saw and blade that is appropriate for your chosen material. Saws with added features that help accuracy can improve the build quality of your project significantly.

6. Cutting Pipes

Removing pipes from a demolition site can be a headache without the right tool. Prying away for hours with a crowbar and hammer does work, but it’s time consuming and exhausting. A reciprocating saw can make this kind of work much easier. For metal or plastic pipes, you’ll want to use either a metal-cutting blade , a combination blade or a demolition blade.

7. Sanding Holes

If you need to sand the edges of a hole you’ve made, a reciprocating saw with an appropriate accessory or modification can do the trick. Sanding pads can be bought from many suppliers, both in-store and online. These are designed to help you quickly and easily sand down tight spaces. Some users make their own modifications for sanding tasks. This is most commonly achieved by attaching tough grit sandpaper very tightly to their longer blades. If you’re thinking of doing this, then definitely proceed with caution and make sure you’re capable of doing this safely

8. Pruning

Yard work becomes remarkably quick and easy if you’ve got the right tool for the job. Reciprocating saws are more than capable of helping you with your everyday outdoor tasks. Pruning and trimming tree branches is a very common use case. Make sure you’re using appropriate woodcutting blades.

9. Salvaging

Sawzalls are also great for salvaging wood scrap from older projects. If you’re handy, you’ll end up spending much less on new materials for builds. Trimming down scrap for other projects can be very rewarding. If you’re a skilled woodworker, joining pieces together for beautifully crafted builds should be a breeze!

Conclusion

We hope it’s now clearer why reciprocating saws have grown so much in popularity over the past few years. In the right context, their versatility is undeniable. If you’re ever involved in demolition projects, then it’s definitely worth considering picking up a reciprocating saw. Once you’ve bought one, you might be surprised how much else you can achieve.

Check out our reciprocating saws buying guide to find our top tips for the best reciprocating saws on the market.