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While Sawzall started as the name of a particular brand, it’s come to be another general term to describe a reciprocating saw.
Why? Because it really “saws all”.
With the proper blade and the right amount of power, you can cut through metal sheets, lumber, nails, pipes, and plaster. Just about anything.
With so many options available, we’re here to help you choose the best reciprocating saw.
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In a Rush?
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Jigsaw (with reviews)
Here's a list of the best jigsaws on the market today. Let us know if we missed a favourite of yours in the comments.
1. Makita JR3070CT Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
The Makita JR3070CT is our choice for the best reciprocating saw. It has a powerful motor with speed control, which helps it maintain a constant speed when in use. This combined with the long stroke length and speed make it so this can cut through just about anything.
Makita’s anti-vibration technology is effective, cutting down on both vibration and noise. This makes the tool much more enjoyable to use and easier to control. It’s not easy to bind up the blade on this saw. If it should happen, it has a built in clutch to help prevent any damage to the gears.
While this saw is on the high end of the price range for our list, it’s definitely worth what you’ll pay for it. It’s powerful enough to cut through almost anything and it’s anti-vibration technology actually works. Whether you’re looking to trim some tree branches or cut through an old refrigerator, this tool will be able to do it.
This is a great tool for professionals or experienced contractors. This reciprocating saw might be a little too powerful for someone who has never used this type of tool before or only needs something for smaller jobs.
2. DEWALT DC385B Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
The best thing about the DEWALT DC385B is that it’s portable. Cordless tools like this are great because you can take it to the wherever you need to go without much hassle. You also don’t have to constantly be worried about where the cord is and if it’s in the way of your blade.
This saw has a few great safety features, including a non-slip grip, an electric brake that instantly stops the blade, and the safety benefits that come from the elimination of the cord. Another good thing: blade change is quick and easy.
As the best value on our list, this is a great choice for professionals, DIYers, or first-time buyers. The safety features alone make it a great choice for someone buying their first reciprocating saw. It also has four blade positions, which make it versatile enough for most professional jobs.
There are a few downsides to buying this saw that have nothing to do with its performance. While it runs on a rechargeable battery, you will need to purchase both the battery and the charger separately. It also does not include any blades.
3. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
One of the benefits of the Black & Decker BDCR20B is that is really easy to use. It’s so lightweight that using it for long periods of time isn’t a problem. The vibration dampening technology and small stroke length also help make it easy to control.
The thing that makes this best budget reciprocating saw stand out is that the blade is really easy to change. You don’t need any tools or complicated maneuvers, just use the blade lock button and take it from there.
This is a great tool for the price. It’s good quality, easy to operate, and the variable speed settings make it a pretty versatile tool. It’s best for small jobs around the house, trimming trees, or DIY projects.
One downside to this tool is the battery, which will only work for about an hour of periodic work before needing to be charged. This is one reason why it might not be best for professional jobs. It quickly runs out of power and might not be able to keep up with, say, cutting through a lot of 2x4s consecutively.
4. Bosch RS7 Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
The powerful motor and adjustable speed make this reciprocating saw a powerful and effective choice for everyone from DIYers to professional contractors. It comes with a carrying case and an all purpose blade to get you started.
Dual LED lights are the thing that sets it apart from the other reciprocating saws on this list. The bright light makes it so you can see where you’re cutting, even in the darkest conditions. This comes in handy if you’re working somewhere like under a car or in a dark corner and you need to be able to see in order to make precise cuts.
This saw is worth what you’ll pay for it. It’s strong, versatile, and can handle tougher jobs. The soft, ergonomic design of the handle will help with comfort and control.
It’s a heavy tool and can be a bit too much for some inexperienced users. This one is best for professionals and large jobs. Some users report that it’s sometimes difficult to remove the blades to change them.
5. Ryobi P514 Cordless One+ Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
The Ryobi P514 is a popular tool for DIYers because it’s lightweight and durable. This is another cordless option so you can take it to any job, but it’s designed for medium weight tasks, like trimming tree branches or cutting pipes or drywall.
The Ryobi has a rubber grip over the handle that acts as a cushion between the motor and your hand. While all tools vibrate somewhat. This feature seems to help reduce the amount of vibration for the user, which makes the saw easier to hold and to control.
This reciprocating saw is definitely worth the price. It’s very durable and the multi-speed control allows it to be used for a variety of materials.
Overall, this is a great tool for small projects around the house or for a DIYer. The battery won’t last long enough for it to handle very large tasks.
6. DEWALT DWE304 Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
The DEWALT DWE304 is powerful and fast and can handle almost any job. Its variable speed trigger allows the user to adjust the speed while using the saw which allows for quick adjustments to make sure the job gets done.
The thing that stands out about this reciprocating saw is the four blade positions that allow for it to be positioned not only vertically, but also horizontally. This further adds to its versatility and makes it a tool that you really should have around the house because it can handle almost any job.
This is a good tool for casual users and DIYers because it’s easy to use. Blade changes are made easy with its keyless blade holder system, although some users have reported problems with it breaking or not lasting for the life of the tool. Still, it’s a reasonable price for a tool that is so powerful and versatile.
Another downside to this tool is that it’s pretty large. You might have a hard time fitting it into smaller spaces and it might not feel comfortable during use for someone with small hands.
7. PORTER CABLE PCC670B Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
This offering from Porter Cable is compact, lightweight, and cordless. It’s exceptionally portable and the one-inch stroke length makes it easy to control. The metal housing and the ergonomic handle also contribute to its ease of use.
The blade can be easily changed without the need for any tools. The metal housing helps keep dust out of the motor which can increase the life of the saw. It’s small and great for use in tight spaces.
One downside is that the battery doesn’t seem to be powerful enough for this saw. It will run out of juice pretty quickly and, while it does charge fast, it will still cause you to have to take a pause in your work.
Because of its short battery life and the fact that it’s not a very heavy duty tool, this reciprocating saw is best used for smaller, infrequent projects. It definitely has its uses, though, and is a fair price if you’re looking for something to use around the house or in the yard.
8. DEWALT DCS387P1 Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
This is a kit that comes with the DEWALT DCS387P1 saw, cloth carrying case, a battery, and a charger. The saw is lightweight and compact enough to get into small areas, like between studs or in dense trees. It’s also cordless, so it’s easier to take anywhere you might need it.
The thing that makes this saw stand out the most is its LED light. This will light up the work space and make it easy for you to see where exactly you’re cutting. A few places where this might come in handy are inside walls in construction projects or underneath cars if you’re using it in a garage.
As for the price, it is on the expensive end of the price range. While this price does include the battery and charger, it’s important to note that no blades are included in this kit and will have to be purchased separately.
While it’s expected that all power tools will have some vibration, the biggest complaint with this saw is that the vibration combined with the handle can make it a little difficult to hold. This is more of a personal preference, however, and doesn’t really change the fact that this is a powerful Sawzall that can handle tough jobs.
9. SKIL 9206-02 Reciprocating Saw
Not so Good
The SKIL 9206-02 has variable speeds and a long stroke length so it’s versatile and gets jobs done fast. It has a counterbalance to help with vibration control and metal gear housing for durability. Changing the blades is quick and easy, no tools required.
This is a pretty basic tool with not a lot of bells and whistles. The thing that sticks out the most about it is that it’s a stripped down tool yet it’s still very effective. It’s great for DIYers and light home use because it’s simplicity makes it easy for anyone to use it. But it’s also powerful enough to be used by contractors on larger jobs.
It’s fairly inexpensive and a great buy, especially if you’re looking for something to have to do small jobs that come up around the house. It comes with one wood blade to get you started.
Some users reported that the motor got a little hot after long uses while others complained that using inexpensive blades would only lead to them breaking. Still, overall, this tool comes highly recommended.
How to buy a reciprocating saw
As you can see from our list of Sawzall reviews, there are a lot of things to consider when buying. We’ll go over some of them here so you can be sure you know what to look for when finding the right one for you.
Just bare in mind, while these saws can cut pretty much anything, you should also consider looking at the best jigsaws if you want to do finer work, which is also great a cutting in curved shapes.
Corded or Cordless
One of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you want one with a power cord or if you’d rather have on that runs on batteries. There are pros and cons to both.
- More consistent power
- Don’t have to stop working to charge a dying battery
- Cord can be a safety hazard
- Have to have access to electrical outlet at all times while working
- More portability
- Can go anywhere because you don’t have to worry about access to electricity or getting a proper extension cord
- Power can suffer when battery starts to run low
- Lose time working when you have to charge the battery
Things that Affect Performance
You’ll also need to consider the kind of jobs you’re going to be doing with your reciprocating saw and then decide what specifications you’ll need. There are a few factors that contribute to how powerful the saw is:
- Amperage or Voltage – Depending if your saw is corded or not, you’ll need to take into account the amperage or battery voltage. Generally, the higher the amperage of voltage, the more power the tool is going to have. (Although, as noted above, make sure you take the battery charge into consideration as a low battery won’t produce a much power.) An example is that most common projects around the house will be doable with an amperage of 11 whereas heavy duty work requires closer to 15.
- Stroke Length – The longer the stroke length, the faster the cut. This is because more surface area is coming into contact with the material. You’ll need to know what kind of projects you’ll be completing because you don’t want too much or too little of the blade going into your project. Stroke lengths vary from ¾ to 1 ¼ in.
- Stokes per Minute – Measure how fast the blade is moving. Most reciprocating saws have adjustable ranges that go all the way up to 3,000 strokes per minute. The engine power will usually directly correlate to the strokes per minute. The higher the strokes per minute, the faster the blade will cut.
- Variable Speed Control – This allows your reciprocating saw to cut at different speeds, which is important if you plan on using it with different materials. If you have a variety of jobs planned, variable speed control is a must have feature. In order to get the most out of your tool, you should adjust it to different speeds for wood, plaster, metal, etc.
There are some other things to keep in mind that will affect how easy your reciprocating saw is to use and control:
- Blade Change Mechanism – You’ll need to change the blade pretty often, especially if you are using your saw on various materials. The easier it is for you to change the blade, the more you’ll enjoy using it. Some manufacturers require a separate Allen wrench to remove the blade lock, but nowadays more reciprocating saw manufacturers are making blade changes tool free and as easy as possible.
- Weight – If you’re planning on using your tool for long periods of time, make sure it is light enough that you will be able to manage it. Heavier saws are typically more heavy duty and made for larger jobs.
- Vibration – All power tools are going to vibrate. You can’t really escape that. But some have rubber grips or counterbalances that claim to lessen the effects of the vibration.
- Bare Tools – When a manufacturer is selling only the cordless version of a tool by itself – meaning with no battery, charger, or blades in this case – they call it a “bare tool.” Keep in mind that if you buy a bare tool, you’ll still need to buy the missing things before you can use it. Some users don’t read the fine print and are upset when their order arrives and they can’t use it right away because it has no power supply or blades.
If you’re looking for a reciprocating saw, our buying guide should serve as a good resource for you. Sawzalls can cut through anything with the right blade and power, you just need to find the right one for the jobs on your to-do list.
The Makita JR3070CT AVT is the clear winner for us as the best corded Sawzall. Its powerful motor provides constant speed and when combined with its stroke length, it can cut through pretty much anything. This is a tool that will make any job easier and faster.